MEPs demand end to foreign aid to Nigeria over gay marriage ban

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The European Parliament’s Intergroup on gay rights has responded to moves to criminalise same-sex marriage in Nigeria by calling for a suspension of EU aid.

Last week the House of Representatives in Nigeria voted unanimously in favour of a new legislation that “prohibits marriage between persons of same gender, solemnisation of same and other matters related therewith.”

Representatives said that both Islam and Christianity, the prominent religions in Nigeria, condemn homosexual acts.

“The only result this law is going to achieve is a raising hatred against gay, lesbian and transgender citizens of Nigeria,” said Michael Cashman, Labour MEP and President of the LGBT Intergroup.

“I do not understand how legislators in such a big and diverse country can be so cruel and indifferent to millions of their own people who are already such a marginalised and oppressed minority in their country.”

The Intergroup is sending a request to the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid to evaluate the financial support given to Nigeria unless the state homophobia in the country is terminated.

Nigerian law states that anyone who has “carnal knowledge of any person against order of nature or permits a male to have carnal knowledge of him” can be imprisoned for 14 years.

In 2007 the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill was debated in the Nigerian Parliament but did not proceed.

It called for imprisonment for any person who “goes through the ceremony of marriage with a person of the same sex”, anyone who helps them and any gay clubs or organisations.