Halting the creeping ‘gay culture’


THE recent arrest of 67 suspected homosexuals at a party in Effurun, Delta State, draws attention to a creeping alternate culture in Nigeria. Media reports detailed how police broke up an alleged “gay wedding” at a hotel, where homosexuals, and cross-dressers were celebrating. The intrusion of the ‘gay culture’ into Nigeria raises legal, moral, human rights and cultural questions that challenge the society’s established mores.

According to the police, alleged members of a “gay club” numbering over 100 gathered at the hotel in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area, for an all-night “wedding” ceremony between two men, Daniel Pius, 22, as the “groom,” and Maxwell Ohwonohwo, 22, as the “bride.” While some escaped, 67 of the partygoers were arrested. Police said apart from ceremonial wedding costumes, they also recovered illicit drugs, including codeine, Canadian loud, and one crusher.

The crime aspect is straight-forward; Nigerian law criminalises homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Illicit drug possession and use are also criminal activities. In January 2014, then President Goodluck Jonathan signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act into law criminalising same-sex unions in whatever form nationwide.

Consequently, the suspects should be screened, and those found culpable swiftly prosecuted. Like the Criminal Code applicable throughout the southern states, the law imposes a maximum 14 years imprisonment for same-sex activity. In the Northern states, the Penal Code similarly prescribes 14 years imprisonment for lesbian or homosexual activity.

Challenges remain. Across all the country’s ethnic, cultural and religious spectrum, homosexuality is anathema, and same-sex marriage a sacrilege. A survey in 2007 by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found that 97 per cent of Nigerians rejected homosexuality outright. This was the second highest rate of rejection among the 45 countries surveyed. A follow-up poll in 2019 found that disapproval had dropped to 91 per cent; but this is still very high by any standard.

This justifies the criminalisation under the criminal and penal codes, and the SSMPA. Nigerians, like most Africans, abhor homosexuality and their governments are obliged to respect their revulsion.

However, the West and the United Nations have lumped it together with transgender and bisexual tendencies and adopted it as a human rights issue. Vigorously pursued by the United States, European Union and international rights groups, Nigeria and other African countries have come under pressure to legalise same-sex activity.

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Africans should continue to resist. Since the first recorded same-sex marriages were held in the Netherlands in 2001, 33 other countries have legalised it. In Africa, only South Africa has legalised it, becoming the fifth country in the world to do so in 2006.

In May 2023, Namibia’s Supreme Court authorised recognition of only same-sex marriages contracted abroad. Thirty-two African countries, including Nigeria, have laws criminalising homosexuality.  Needlessly, three go to the extreme; Mauritania, Somalia, and South Sudan, as well as 12 Northern Nigerian states under controversial Sharia penal laws, prescribe the death penalty.

Western countries do not accept polygamy, which is widespread in Africa; they should stop sanctioning emerging economies for rejecting their gay culture.

Parents/guardians, educators, faith-based organisations and communities should halt the creeping culture. Once rare and practised in secrecy, gays are coming out of the closet in Nigeria. NGOs report how an increasing number of youths are experimenting with it.

The Anglican Church of Nigeria has separated itself from the homosexual subjugation of the Church of England. The Methodist Church Nigeria has also parted ways with its United Kingdom counterparts over their adoption of gay sex and marriage.

The mass media and the entertainment industry should encourage and promote positive African values.

While enforcing same-sex marriage prohibition, the government should treat homosexuality as both a health and social problem and devise programmes accordingly to prevent youths picking up the habit and helping them kick it when they do.


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