Canada punishes Nigerian President for signing anti-gay law by cancelling state visit

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Canada has cancelled a scheduled state visit following Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to approve a draconian anti-gay bill.

The decision to cancel President Jonathan’s state visit to Canada was communicated through the Nigeria High Commissioner to the Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola Onwuliri who in turn passed on the message to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.

Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati in his reaction, yesterday, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would respond to the development.

The trip was planned for next month.

There has been worldwide condemnation of Nigeria.

Anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage or civil union may be jailed for up to 14 years. The law also bans people who register, operate or participate in gay clubs, societies or organisations, or who publicly show that they are in a same-sex relationship.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague have all criticised President Jonathan’s decision.

Same-sex relationships were already illegal in the country prior to the new law passing.

A Muslim man was last week sentenced to 20 lashes after a Sharia court convicted him of breaking laws against same-sex activity.

Mubarak Ibrahim, 20, was among 11 Muslim men accused of violating their religion due to their alleged sexuality.

The trials are taking place in the country’s northern state of Bauchi.