Following the anti-gay footsteps of Uganda, now comes news that the African Nation of Nigeria has proposed a similar law. The bill introduced to Nigerian lawmakers stating that anyone found guilty of homosexual activities/behavior will be sent to jail.
If passed, the bill would give jailtime of 14 years for having a same sex partner. Anyone that shows affection publicly like hand holding or kissing to someone of the same sex would receive a jail sentence of 10 years. And just as disturbing, any allies or advocates, gay or straight, that show open support for LGBT citizens would also face some jail time.
One of the supporters of the bill, Coordinator of the Initiative for Improved Male Health‘s Oliver Anene, stated that this would be a preventitive measure to control and contain the number of HIV/AIDS cases:
The spread of HIV in the country is fueled by the growing stigma and discrimination of people, and a legislation as this will only make it more difficult to provide services to our highly productive youth burdened by the epidemic, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity. We humbly implore our law makers to really consider the long term consequences of this bill on the social security of our youth.”
But Mr. Ifeanyi Orazulike, Executive Director of International Center for Advocacy on Right to Health (ICARH) vehemently disagrees (and rightly so) with the outrageous bill:
“The bill will further drive the populations of sexual minority targeted by civil society organizations with HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention programs underground, with grave consequences on public health.” He added that “HIV/AIDS does not respect any culture, religion, race or political opinion.”
Andre Banks, the Executive Director and co-founder of All Out, the largest global LGBT organization feels like this is an attack on everyone, regardless of sexuality ans fails to address the real issues:
“The ‘Jail the Gays’ bill is an attack on not only gays and lesbians, but on straight Nigerians. Basic freedoms like the freedom to assemble, the freedom to worship as one chooses, and the freedom to love are under attack by the Nigerian government. No one is safe from this dangerous bill — it is a distraction from real problems and must be stopped.”
This is horrible. It makes me really sad to think of the possiblity of people being persecuted because of who they are.