Yawning Bread. February 2006

The Nigerian dilemma

by the group Gays and Lesbians United, Nigeria





Loving someone of the same sex as oneself, homosexuality, is not a new phenomenon in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. It had existed in all cultures, tribes and nation from the beginning and was called many native names. Although pre- colonial African history is not written, there are surviving artifacts and folklores that give clues to homosexual practices in the past. From all accounts, lesbians and gays (homosexual women and men) were revered members of their societies and some played special roles. However, the current change in attitudes towards homosexuals is what many do not understand. There is so much anti- homosexual sentiments in African societies today than ever before. Homosexuality is now seen as a western import, a sign of moral decadence and religious infidelity.

Most African countries were colonized by western powers. The colonialist introduced various anti- homosexual laws that have remained unchanged. Nigeria, a former British colony, inherited various anti-homosexual laws under Nigeria's criminal code homosexual acts carry a jail term of 14 years; while a sentence of death by stoning is the penalty under Sharia law which applies to Muslim states. Many people have been charged with the offence at various times, although no court sentence has been carried out. However, these laws contribute to the climate of hate and intolerance prevalent in Nigerian societies.

In Jigawa State, a Muslim state, in April 2002,a 22year-old student at the Birnin Kudu College, was beaten to death by fellow students because" they suspected him as gay." Early this year, Anietie and Joy, lesbian christian couple, were attacked with acid by some people through their bedroom window. Joy died as a result of the attack and Anietie is still suffering in the hospital. These are just few cases; we have facts of many anti-lesbian rapes, tortures, and even forced marriages arranged by families. Many people are a waiting trial in torturous police cells or for sentences to be carried out for one homosexual related act or another. Lesbians are the worst hit there are several rape groups targeting feminist centres and homes and unleashing terror by way of rapes and beatings in other to force changes. It seems there are no safe havens, as churches and other religious organizations which people are suppose to turn for help are encouraging hatred with ant-homosexual sermons and rhetorics daily.

One would expect that since there is ample evidence from both genetics and psychology that proves that sexual orientation is fixed from birth; and many western countries that first introduce the laws have abolished them and even recognized same-sex marriages, the situation would change for better. But the reverse is the case. Recently, the Nigerian National Assembly has passed a new bill, Same Sex Prohibition Act 2006.This legislation strictly prohibit public show of affection, pro-homosexual organizations, clubs, churches, mosque, etc. Does this means the end of the road for lesbians and gays seeking justice and equality in Nigeria and Africa, as a whole? NO! History shows that light always and ultimately overcomes darkness. A wind of change is slowly blowing into Africa. South Africa has abolished all its anti-homosexual laws, and many African countries could be influenced to do same. It requires determination and courage from all lovers of freedom. Individuals, groups, organizations, etc. can do some thing about it by inserting pressure on governments to make protection of human rights a priority.

Gays and Lesbians United, a non profit Christian organization, have been pressing for reforms. It is our belief that God will intervene. We are aware of the danger but we must forge on. Soon there will be freedom for all and freedom of sexual orientation will become enshrined in the UN Declarations on Human Rights. With ask for your prayers and support. If you would like to get involved or support us, email [email address]. All correspondence are kept confidential.  


Foreword by Yawning Bread

In the last few years, the world has seen a number of shocking penalties imposed for various sexual "offenses" in Nigeria. 

The Anglican archbishop of Nigeria has also made himself the chief opponent to inclusiveness in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Here is a letter giving a brief outline of the situation by a Christian-based gay and lesbian group in Nigeria itself.

Originally, their email address was included in the last paragraph, but Yawning Bread will not publish it here, as any published email address tends to attract spam. However, if anyone wishes to contact the group, you are welcome to write to me and I will forward your email to them.