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. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    If the Africans don't want to accept British money because it's colonial, they certainly should not have money forced upon them.
    It is a European nation that supports gay rights to this extent, as do most European nations.
    It is an African nation that rejects gay rights vehemently, as do most African nations.
    It is interesting to observe which of the USA's states think more the way that Europeans do regarding gay rights, and which of our states think more in the way that Africans think.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Nigeria is rich in many natural resources, including oil and natural gas.
    That sovereign nation should not need any financial aid at all from Great Britain.
    Let the people of Nigeria have enough intelligence to access and market their own natural abundance so that they can be as oppressive as they choose on the basis of religion and human orientation.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mmmmm

    there is nothing wrong or opressive about passing good moral laws. they exist in law books and in societies everywhere and usually reflect the standards of natural law and the religious values of the people who create them...britain is full of it...

    November 30, 2011 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Simon Aberham

    Let God be with the Nigerian people b/s they stood against the work of satan

    November 30, 2011 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Mmmmm, 6:11 AM:
    The societies of Europe, in general, are more evolved than the societies of most states in the USA, and certainly more than those of Africa.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      europeans more evolve? what aryan ignorance....nigeria has clearly sent a message of their rejection of europe's debased standards. I think you and the tiny island of great britain should look at the plank in its own eye

      November 30, 2011 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Britain is under no obligation to give money to any nation at all.
    Neither is the US.
    I surely wish these nations would consider that before taking action against its citizens, whether one agrees or disagrees with said actions.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Victor Nig.

    With the poor state of these Western economies, Britain should please consider our refusal of their Greek gift an Aid from us.

    November 30, 2011 at 7:10 am | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ banasy:
    Good morning.
    @ tout le monde:
    It's not just that other nations are not obligated to give money to African nations.
    African nations like Nigeria don't need anybody else's money.
    They are rich in natural resources like diamonds and oil, as well as in plentiful labor.
    All that the Africans have to do is dig the diamonds out of the ground and sell them.
    That shouldn't be so hard...or is it, for them?

    November 30, 2011 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    PS:
    Don't inform me of the location of African diamonds by nation.
    I'm a gemologist.

    November 30, 2011 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Good morning, JIF.
    That was a general comment to the nations that seem to expect aid no matter how they treat their citizens...whether it's opressing their women in the ME, or outright killing gay people in Nigeria.

    November 30, 2011 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ banasy:
    Bu–but...isn't that oppression of women in the ME based on "good moral laws" supported by the Koran?
    Ask Mmmmm. She knows all about that stuff.

    November 30, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Mmmmm:
    I said, "more evolved," not "more "evolve."
    I know: grammar is not in the Bible.

    November 30, 2011 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I have to leave the house now.
    I don't have any more time this morning for ignorance of education and reason.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mmmmm

    you illicit, godless, anything goes appleheads, dissolute living dogs...kiss my scalding hot grits...nowhere in the article did nigeria anti-yag laws sentence anyone to death...get over it...there is no such thing to human right to do wrong...neither should you blackmail countries by denying aid because they refuse to abort or refuse to contracep away their next generation of its citizens...britain just been punked and royally told to kiss nigeria's blue black azzzzzzzzzzzz on this issue...

    November 30, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Mmmmm 8:05 AM:
    "...no such thing to human right to do wrong?"
    God save the Queen's English, and
    God save the Queen.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      AAARRRGH! God may save her when shay ceases handling the loins...of the throne and parliment...over to adultery...!

      November 30, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
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