Nigeria anti-gay law within striking distance of approval

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A bill to further criminalise same-sex relationships in Nigeria has reportedly passed through a second reading in the country’s House of Representatives.

According to Nigeria’s Punch newspaper, the proposed legislation, which has already been endorsed by the parliament’s Senate, now awaits the approval of the Committee of the Whole House.

Same-sex relations are already illegal in Nigeria and the new law would mean gay couples entering into either marriage or cohabitation would face jail terms of up to 14 years.

Those “witnessing” or “abetting” such relationships would also face custodial sentences, and groups that advocate for LGBT rights could also be penalised.

The Prohibition of Same-Sex Marriage Bill passed through the Senate – Nigeria’s highest chamber – in December 2011.

Last month, the UK Border Agency was criticised by human right campaigners for deporting a gay Nigerian back to the country.

Olamiekan Ayelokun had argued that he could not return to Nigeria because he was at risk of homophobic persecution.

Developments in Nigeria come as the Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament Rebecca Kadaga said on Monday that a similar anti-gay bill would be passed by MPs in the country before the end of this year.