Members of Nigeria's LGBT community in diaspora protest the country's same-sex marriage prohibition bill outside
the Nigerian High Commission in London in 2013.
There may be a semblance of modernity, but really, Nigeria is still an agrarian society. And in fact, 21st century Nigeria is far less developed than 17th century Germany, 18th century France or 19th century Britain. In those times and places, many citizens were gullible and poorly educated and with many more prone to superstition and susceptible to the urging of their leaders. For instance, when Otho de Lagery, otherwise known as Pope Urban II inspired and sanctioned the first Crusade in 1096–1099, many thought he was doing the right thing, “doing God’s work.”
When the Nigerian Assembly wrote and passed the same-sex bill, and President Goodluck Jonathan signed it into law last week, many Nigerians believe he did the right thing — interpreting his action to mean “family value.” Nothing can be farther from the truth. Both the lawmakers and the President are profoundly wrong! History will remember this as Jonathan’s “Wag the dog” moment: Diverting the nation’s attention from important matters such as the Boko Haram palaver, the sacking and appointment of new Service Chiefs, the Oduahgate and the lethargy and futility that has come to characterise his presidency.
The bill Jonathan signed has domestic and international implications. At the very least, it paints this president as politically undiscerning. But more than that, his consent makes it acceptable for a growing minority to be vilified and victimised. Nigerians have just been told (by their president) to hate those who look and act differently; and to cruelly treat anyone whose sexual orientation is different from the supposed norm.
What kind of a man or woman hates another human being simply because the “others” are of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community? In Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan and elsewhere on the continent, we have thugs who masquerade as leaders butchering their own people. Here in Nigeria, the butchering and imprisonment of fellow Nigerians may commence soon.
For far too long, Nigerian leaders at all levels have been peddling hate. And many of our religious leaders have also been promoting hostility between and amongst peoples and communities. Many members of the elite also have a hand in it. What we have in Nigeria, therefore, are merchants of vile and bile and everything that is inhuman about humanity. And of course, there is their hypocrisy as many can only function sexually when they are mentally and physically abusing underage girls.
Across Nigeria and in the many halls and corridors of power and influence are adulterers, fornicators, high-ranking thieves, paedophiles and jackasses. It is these same people who turned around to enact a law against homosexuals and same-sex marriages. And there is the President — a President whose moral and ethical values are not something to write home about. There is a second hypocrisy. Many lawmakers and decisionmakers — as with a sizable number of Nigerians who claim to be heterosexuals — engage in anal and group sex, fellatio and cunnilingus, and in practically every suggestion in the Kama Sutra text.
Reputable scientific and medical journals and organisations in Europe, Asia and the America have variously said there is nothing abnormal or sickening about homosexuality or with the general LGBT community. But no group anywhere in the world has ever asserted or suggested that Nigerian-style corruption is good or healthy for the country.
Political and economic corruption damages the moral fibre of our country in ways many cannot imagine or comprehend. A man loves a man and wants to engage in a long term relationship, so what? A woman loves and wants to marry who she desires and respects, so what? And how does the private and consensual behaviour between adults negatively impact the growth and development of the country? How?
For those of you who are in denial, are gullible or being brainwashed, let me remind you: The Decalogue, also known as the Ten Commandments, can be found in the first section of the Christian anthology; and are also very central to Judaism. And in fact, many have argued that these mandates and injunctions are the basis of the moral and legal system of justice for many Western Christian societies. And as a consequence of religious and cultural diffusion, these injunctions also form the basis of many non-western legal systems.
Not minding the bits and pieces that may have been lost in translation, the commandments are pretty simple. For instance, it tells both Christians and Jews to worship only the God of Moses and Abraham; to not commit murder, theft or adultery; and to never bear false witness, to be always truthful and to forever honour one’s parents. And also, the Bible and the Torah explicitly tell their adherents to “Flee from sexual immoralities” such as fornication and sex with children and the defenceless and the weak. For Nigerians who claim to be Christians – how many of these laws do they obey and how consistently?
The Torah and the Bible do not explicitly condemn homosexuality or same-sex marriage. The Bible is especially vague on these subjects. On the other hand, do you want me to repeat what the Bible said about lying, cheating and adultery? Need I tell you about what the Bible, Koran and Torah said about stealing and bearing false witness and denying the innocent their rights?
Fellow Nigerians, do not insult or attack members of the LGBT community. Do not worry yourself with what they do in the privacy of their homes or clubs. Do not concern yourself with same-sex marriages. But instead, worry about the abuse of human and civil rights in Nigeria. Concern yourselves with the path the country has been on since 1985: No clean water. No quality medical care. (Lest I forget, a serving senator, Magnus Abe, was last week rushed to a hospital in London to be treated of “injuries” from an alleged rubber bullet fired at him by the police in Rivers State. Meaning, Nigerian hospitals can’t even treat injuries) No first-rate schools in Nigeria. No uninterrupted power supply. No adequate laws to protect you from cults and marauding politicians. And Boko Haram indirectly controls the presidency, yet, you are worried about same-sex marriages.
A simple question for President Jonathan: To how many years imprisonment should we send his friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family members in and out of government who have been milking the country? How many years will those who engage in oil theft that bleeds the country’s economy spend in jail? And, finally, how many of the legislators who supported and or wrote the legislation on same-sex marriage are homosexuals and or bisexual? Do we know?