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. BOMBO

    Does anyone else remember the mouse problem sketch on Monty Python?

    November 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BOMBO

    Clearly the Nigerian Government's view is a hostile one.


    November 30, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BOMBO

    But perhaps this is because so little is generally known of these mice men. We have some film now taken of one of the notorious weekend mouse parties, where these disgusting little perverts meet.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BOMBO

    Well first of all you get shown to your own private hole in the skirting board... then you put the mouse skin on... then you scurry into the main room, and perhaps take a run in the wheel. Well, er, then you steal some cheese, Brie or Camembert, or Cheddar or Gouda, if you're on the harder stuff. You might go and see one of the blue cheese films... there's a big clock in the middle of the room, and about 12:50 you climb up it and then ...eventually, it strikes one... and you all run down.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bigwilliestyles

    Thank you to the people I agree with, and the ones that I don't; this is bloggin!

    November 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    You're exactly correct.
    You know what I see?
    I see my mechanic, the guy who delivers my heating oil, my UPS lady, the counter person at my dry-cleaner, the kid at Subway, the man in the car next to me.
    You know what I *don't* see?
    A gay mechanic, the gay guy who delivers my heating oil, my gay UPS lady, the gay counter person at dry-cleaner, the kid at Subway, or the gay man in the car next to me.

    NOR DO I SEE my str8 mechanic, the str8 guy who delivers my heating oil, my str8 UPS lady, the str8 counter person at my dry-cleaner, the str8 kid at Subway, or the str8 man in the car next to me.

    It's irrelevant to how I view people.
    I know many more good, moral people who happen to prefer the same gender than the so-called "Christian value" type, by far...

    November 30, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bigwilliestyles

    @ Banasy: touche'.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Roadsniper

    This is a problem for africa to solve . Why is the white man getting involved in there affairs. Oh maybe its money invested by them so just let be . Let them set there own laws . And up hold those laws

    December 1, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. Space cowboy

    I have a daughter that is bi, and a cousin who is lesbian, for me im undecided, but your right i was brought up in a religious background, and have also experience the same thing as far as the same gender couples etc of having higher moral standards thank you for the support

    December 1, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. solo agabu

    Giving Nigeria aid is an insult to Black people. We do not need aid. we need fair trade. Besides all the aid projects are executed by your so call expatriates & all the money goes back to London. We dont need aid. Nigeria is a rich country ruled by crooks supported from the west. What did your aid to HAITI do for them?. Your apples are poison.

    December 1, 2011 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Pronaija

      God will bless you for this comment..

      December 2, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. leela

    last i checked, its our country and we can do whatever the HELL we want!

    December 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pronaija

      Tell them! all these Amebor people...Poke nosin in other peoples maters....

      December 2, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joel

    It sickening to see our senate passing this kind of bill. truth is if they want to enforce it a lot of prominent Nigerians will go to jail. but not to worry this is Nigeria where bills and laws are targeted to affect the poor and exclude the rich. but in a country where freedom of speech is limited people cannot say much, and with sanctions like this, the country is not going to move forward. our leaders should face the real issue... corruption, suffering, health, but no, they want the torch light taken away from them and beamed and less important things.

    Am not advocating for gay rights here, no, to me people have a right to make choice and if that right is taken away from them what else do they have.

    December 2, 2011 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. Brandon

    SANCTIONS: Okay everyone....time to stop sending money to those Nigerian Scammers.

    December 3, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sick Minds

    Evil is evil no matter where it is been committed. Nogeria is right and have realized that, how danger this sickness is, which, have infected the whole western countries and now they want to spread that disease to other continents. Is this the freedom and human rights are they talking about, which even animals dont do between males and females and that is the lowest of the low. For giving some peanuts to poor countries then they think they own that country and want to impose their evil ideas on these innocent people.

    December 8, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. victor

    Isn't it obvious that these leaders are so confused dat they don't know d difference between right from wrong. That's wat happens wen u let fools who don't knw the right tins to do to sit on the high sit

    December 17, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
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