Labour MP urges UK to halt prisoner transfer agreement with Nigeria over anti-gay laws

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Labour MP John McDonnell says the UK should suspend its prisoner transfer agreement with Nigeria because of the country’s decision to pass anti-gay legislation.

The north-west London MP, who represents Hayes and Harlington, has written to both Foreign Secretary William Hague and Home Secretary Theresa May.

Confirming that he’s tabled a parliamentary motion against last month’s agreement between the UK and Nigerian Government on the transfer of sentenced prisoners, Mr McDonnell said: “My reason for tabling this motion is that I am extremely concerned for the safety and security of any LGBT individuals transferred under this agreement given the current level of discrimination against LGBT people in Nigeria.

“The discrimination includes recent legislation, the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which provides penalties for up to 14 years in prison for a gay marriage and up to 10 years imprisonment for membership or encouragement of gay clubs, societies or organisations.

“In addition there have been reports of serious physical attacks and intimidation of LGBT people.

“I would be grateful if you could advise me on what actions the government has undertaken to ensure that anyone from the LGBT community transferred under this agreement will be safe in Nigeria and have their sexuality respected.”

The President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, signed into law a draconian anti-gay bill in January.

It strengthens existing legislation against same-sex sexual activity by banning same-sex marriages, LGBT groups and shows of same-sex public affection with prison terms of up to 14 years.

Conservative MP Crispin Blunt on Wednesday urged the UK Government to consider imposing a travel ban on Ugandan MPs, if Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni, signs his country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law.