November 30th, 2011
04:33 AM ET

Nigerian senate passes anti-gay bill, defying British aid threat

The Nigerian senate has passed a bill banning same-sex marriages, defying a threat from Britain to withhold aid from nations violating gay rights.

The bill by Africa's most populous nation calls for a 14-year sentence for anyone convicted of homosexuality. Anyone who aids or "abets" same-sex unions faces 10 years in prison, a provision that could target rights groups.

It goes to the nation's House of Representatives for a vote before President Goodluck Jonathan can sign it into law.

"It would place a wide range of people at risk of criminal sanctions, including human rights defenders and anyone else - including friends, families and colleagues - who stands up for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people in Nigeria," Amnesty International said in a statement.

The bill passed Tuesday comes nearly a month after British prime minister, David Cameron, threatened to withhold aid from nations violating gays rights, sparking outrage in Africa where leaders interpreted it as "colonial" display of power.

Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries based on remnants of sodomy laws introduced during the British colonial era and perpetuated by cultural beliefs.

Punishments across the continent range from fines to years in prison.

"This is something we raise continually and ... we're also saying that British aid should have more strings attached in terms of 'do you persecute people for their faith or their Christianity or do you persecute people for their sexuality?" Cameron said in a statement.

"We don't think that's acceptable. So look, this is an issue where we want movement, we're pushing for movement, we're prepared to put some money behind what we believe."

Soon after his remarks earlier this month, a flurry of African governments released defiant statements accusing him of undermining their sovereignty and culture.

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Filed under: Africa • David Cameron • Nigeria • United Kingdom • World
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. solo agabu

    If Democracy is about rights & popular majority other than a principle of convenience, why bring it by NATO and drones, why wont you so call democrats allow the wishes off nearly all Nigerians to prevail. We know you have the interest of your citizens living hear @ heart. but we dnt & if students from your countries visit to test this law like they do to Iran, they can expect our reaction.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. solo agabu

    @Bombo & dnt ask us to kneel 4 it. We feed your corporations with our oil. Your gifts in d past is what caused us problems.We always pay back in oneway or d other. pls use d aid for your people. They also need it.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. chrissy

    Its like comparing apples to oranges! No country should dictate to another country HOW to believe! And the BIBLE also says JUDGE NOT LEST YOU BE JUDGED!

    November 30, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • leeintulsa

      No ones telling anyone what to believe. I'm sure there are conditions on most aid packages.

      I read a story about us not sending medical aid to places that allow abortion. I don't agree with it, but it's the same thing.

      November 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    I've bashed nothing, Mmmmm, but you have.
    As you always do with people who have an opinion that differs from yours.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. banasy©

    I think the of opinion of Nigeria is quite clear:
    Stop all aid to them.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. banasy©

    @solo:
    And we feed your country with the money that we pay for your oil.
    Double-edged sword, isn't it?

    November 30, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I'd vote to stop all aid to Nigeria, if my country's aid were in question.
    I don't want to make Nigerians feel bad.
    Gifts of money are terrible.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. banasy©

    @JIF:
    Oh, I agree totally.
    We can't have that.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. chrissy

    am in TOTAL agreement Joey on your l2:20 post. But then again the US needs to stop aiding all foreigne countries while the US itself is in such financial stress! Its like robbing peter to pay paul!

    November 30, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Kareem Cheez

    NEWS FLASH!!

    Gay people represent a sizable percentage of our population. We should all accept this and treat them with the same level of respect and dignity that we expect of ourselves. Until they find a cure...

    November 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • DaninTampa

      The point is you might not know who we are. In your daily life you would probably do business with, pass by, or have as friends/acquiaintences at minimum of 1 in every 8 men or women. Did you know about the Gay Truckers National Network? How about you local Police or Firefighters Alliance? Or all those people still in the closet or all the young people yet to come out.....Could be your mechanic, the guy who delivers your heating oil, Your UPS lady, the counter person at your dry-cleaner, the kid at Subway, The man in the car next to you, etc.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Hi, chrissy.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Kareem Cheez:
    You want to find a cure for it?
    Then what would your daughter wear to the prom?
    She would look like thirty-nine dollars worth of God-help-us...all decked out in loving hands.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. George©

    @Kareem Cheez:
    Until they find a cure for what?
    Pithy little usernames?

    November 30, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Swedish Cook Muppet

    Aboutee da kareemy guy, I thinkee he vas keeding.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jesus

    It's okay. I love you all anyway.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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