Nigeria Crackdown on Gay Marriages, Associations

News just in, via the Nigerian Vanguard:

ABUJA—THE Federal Government has banned gay marriage in Nigeria, thus ending hopes by people of same sex to enjoy marital relationships in the Country.

Those who take part in, or abet, a gay marriage will face five years in prison – so we can assume that this must include even private, non-officially recognised ceremonies. But that’s not all:

…The ban also affects staging of Gay Rallies and Associations of whatever kind.

But why? Of course, it’s a double-whammy:

Addressing state House Correspondents on the bill, Chief Bayo Ojo and Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. Frank Nweke said that Government frowns against marriage of people of same sex as it contravenes the provisions of even both the Holy Bible and the HolyQuoran [sic].

(“National Orientation”?!) The clampdown comes just weeks after the New York Times reported on a meeting of Changing Attitudes Nigeria, a gay Anglican activist group:

At one end of town on a fall Saturday morning, in a soaring cathedral nestled in a tidy suburb, dozens of Nigeria’s most powerful citizens gathered, their Mercedes, Porsche and Range Rover sport utility vehicles gleaming in a packed parking lot. The well-heeled crowd was there to celebrate the Eucharist with the leader of Nigeria’s Anglican Church, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola.

At the other end of town, in a small clubhouse behind a cultural center, a decidedly more downscale and secretive gathering of Anglicans got under way: the first national meeting of a group called Changing Attitudes Nigeria. Its unassuming name, and the secrecy accompanying its meeting – the location was given to a visitor only after many assurances that it would not be revealed to anyone else – underscored the radical nature of the group’s mission: to fight for acceptance of homosexuals in the Anglican Church in Nigeria.

Changing Attitudes Nigeria (CAN) is run by Davis Mac-Iyalla, a former teacher who had been fired by his Anglican employer. It claims to have hundreds of members in Nigeria, and it is part of a wider gay Anglican organisation. The report adds that

in October, Mr. Mac-Iyalla and several other members of Changing Attitudes Nigeria were arrested after their first meeting, which drew several dozen people, after police officers found literature for the meeting in their car. Mr. Mac-Iyalla said he was kicked in the head by one of the officers, and he spent several days in jail without being charged or taken before a judge, although that is not unusual for people arrested in Nigeria. “There was no reason to arrest us other than that we were openly gay,” he said.

The Anglican church’s response to this coverage was bizarre – as Ekklesia reported, Rev Canon Akin Tunde Popoola released a statement warning about someone supposedly collecting money “to organise homosexual meetings that only take place on sponsored news reports”, as a form of fraud. This, and other weird accusations, were denied by CAN (here and here), which has also threatened legal action against the church over the claims. CAN’s statements on the subject give further details about its activities – now, apparently, all banned on pain of long prison sentences:

Since its formation in August 2005 CAN has achieved a great deal, including the formation of groups meeting in 5 dioceses, a first General Meeting held in Abuja, and significant press and media coverage in Nigeria and other parts of the Anglican Communion. The objective of CAN is to contribute to the commitment made by the Anglican Communion and specifically by Archbishop Peter Akinola to listen to the experience of lesbian and gay Anglicans. CAN also enables lesbian, gay and bisexual members of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to meet and find support and encouragement in their faith.

(Hat tip – Harry’s Place)

2 Responses

  1. […] This follows a similar development in Nigeria, after the activities of a gay Anglican activist group were reported in the US press. The government responded by banning the “staging of Gay Rallies and Associations of whatever kind”, as I blogged here. […]

  2. […] support for extremely repressive anti-gay legislation soon to be passed in Nigeria. I reported on this just over a year ago; Bruce Wilson went into further detail for Talk to Action back in […]

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