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. banasy©

    I do not rely on a paragraph or two for my news, Mmmmm.
    This has been going on for years there.
    I have seen many doc um entaries on this.

    The gov't looks the other way towards the atrocities inflicted upon gays, and the propaganda shown to the ignorant public is reminiscent of propaganda shown during another era that resulted is mass deaths of people deemed "less than".

    This doesn't make me an "illicit, godless, anything goes applehead, dissolute living dog"; what it makes me in informed.

    Way to bash an entire group of people on the name of your "god"; MY God doesn't care for ignorant, self-righteous prigs.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      the blind eye of the govt is a separate issue from its anti-sodomy laws...you bashed an entire nation of people for passing a legitimate moral law...called them to neanthedals...and then clamor politically that they should be persecuted economicallly for upholding family values, and family principles...you're dissing them plainly for choosing to bypass immorality...what happen to your so-called "tolerance"...?

      November 30, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. bigwilliestyles

    I cannot fathom why I should be concerned about what other people want to do with their own bodies, if they are a reasoning adult. Alternative lifestyles, religion, drugs, even suicide; if that is what you choose to do (or not) with YOUR body and mind, so be it. The amount of time, money and man (and woman) power spent trying to control or convert others (as an algebraic equation) has to be staggering.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      the point, bigwill, you don't affect just your body...society foot that bill...illicit behaviors tend to prey on the weak, the marginalized, the innocent, the old, the young...aside from the fact its very destructive...

      November 30, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    @bigwilliestyles:

    Stop.
    You are making too much sense.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Victor Nig.

    These long nose British fishes knew too well that passing such a bill would have brought "war" to Nigeria. When U place the sale of arms and theft of oil above human life U become British & Western. Worlds cheapest citizenship.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jiao

    @Mmmmm: re: your 8:39 comment: Huh? This comment makes no sense!

    November 30, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      pardon, england has its own demons to dicker...

      November 30, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. solo agabu

    U think we rely on your aid? A school Principal in Lagos earns twice as much per year.

    November 30, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jiao

    @Victor Nig: you are welcome to keep your backwards-ass notions and customs in your backwards-ass country. You are also welcome to stew in your own poverty and hate. World's cheapest genocide.

    November 30, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jiao

    Solo: too bad that there are only 5 schools in your nasty country.

    November 30, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. solo agabu

    @ Jiao, if we stop our oil exports U will starve. Take a look around you & tell me what U've got that isnt from Africa ( from your music to the gas in your car) Your economy is in such a poor shape that makes me wonder why we should learn anything from U.

    November 30, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  10. leeintulsa

    Parallels should be drawn between the nigerian senate and our political leaders and aspirers here. Now they have a place to go hate.. We don't do what other countries do. That's why we have no healthcare and weed is illegal

    November 30, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. James

    Fine. Nigeria should cut them off from their oil supply. We will see then how quick the Brits change their minds

    November 30, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. gung hoe

    Wow what a touchy subject I think i will do what I teach my kids at church to do with touchy subjects and that is what would jesus do.And the answer is in the bible,that is marriage is between a man and a woman period. There is no varient in that sentence

    November 30, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • DaninTampa

      And all the slaves you own, do you provide them running water and a toilet? And see if you can tell how many Gay People you see or deal with in your daily life. I'll bet there are dozens of us.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimtom

      The bible says man shouldn't eat pig, because it's unclean. No bacon for you!

      December 2, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. s kel

    Ill asl the local cop that lives here how they feel. Shes from Nigeria. Shes fine too. Lol

    November 30, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. BOMBO

    Why the arguement? If Nigeria really wants to stand by their "princples", let them. Nothing says we have to do business with them. Let them sell their oil to North Korea or someone. Western countries can buy from whomever they want. Plenty of countries have large surpluses. There is currently a worldwide glut. Britain, for their part, don't need to buy from anyone. They are a net oil exporter.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. BOMBO

    And aid is a gift. Be thankful for it. Don't be an ingrate.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
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