Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fear Continues To Lurk Among Nigerian Gays

Fear Continues To Lurk Among Nigerian Gays
By Lesego Masike on May 28, 2008

NIGERIA – May 28, 2008: Reverend Jide Macaulay of House of Rainbow, who is gay, fears for his life following death threats he received after Nigeria’s PM News published his picture alongside an article titled ‘Homosexual Act Not Against Bible’.

Written by Samuel Ateba, the story which appeared on PM News’s front page on 12 May followed an exclusive interview that Macaulay had with Mo Abudu’s on A Moment with Mo talk show discussing homosexuality.

The article states that Macaulay admitted to being gay since he was 14 and that he openly declared that he practices sodomy which the Bible is not against.

But Rev Macaulay denies speaking to Ateba, and declared the story incorrect.

“I did not give an interview to the journalist. Two people approached me asking for an interview and my picture [however] I declined”, said Macaulay.

However, editor of PM News, Lanr Babanona, is adamant that the article is true and that the reporter did speak to Macaulay.

“Of course my reporter did speak to him, and I believe that he was only expressing Macaulay’s views in the article.”

Asked if he is aware of homophobic attacks that could be sparked by this article, Babanona said; “Even though their behavior is considered abnormal, the Nigerian society is very accommodative.”

But it appears homophobic responses were echoed after a second article about the Reverend was published by the same publication. Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie described Reverend Macaulay as someone who does not know the Biblical principles.

He further emphasised that “when God created the world, he made them male and female, and asked them to increase and multiply.”

Okogie who expressed his shock to PM News said that he could not believe that “such a comment could be made by a man who claimed to be a man of God.”

The Archbishop advised all religious groups in Nigeria to be “quick in fishing out such fake pastors so that sanity can be guaranteed in Christendom.”

Meanwhile, two Nigerian gay men are presently in hiding after announcing at their engagement ceremony about their intention to wed in June this year.

Rev Macaulay inserts that the number of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people who want to get married is growing but there is no exact number as “many people have private unions.”

Now the couple, including Reverend Jide Macaulay whom they invited to officiate their wedding, are receiving anonymous threats warning them not to go on with the wedding.

The threats, coming from people claiming to be part of the Nigerian police, are now perceived by Macaulay as a threat of violence towards the Nigerian LGBTI community.

According to Macaulay many LGBTI couples in Nigeria “simply wish to exchange vows of commitment and love with their life partners.”

But since the Nigerian government has not authorised same-sex marriages, “many gay and lesbian people get married secretly”, added Macaulay.

He further added that, “same-sex unions won’t be against the government laws of Nigeria since there is no law that bars same-sex unions.”

Officially, there is no law that prevents same-sex unions in Nigeria, but currently there is the Same-sex Marriage Prohibition Bill which has been sitting with the Justice Committee for more than a year now for review.

The Bill, which was introduced by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, forbids LGBTI people from entering into same-sex marriages and also punishes those who aid, preside over or witness such an event.

Macaulay advised that even though a bill legalising homosexuality is not passed, there should be such a bill in place to curb homophobia.

On the other hand, 18 Nigerian men arrested on charges of indecent dressing and vagrancy in August last year are out on bail and due to appear in court on 4 June 2008.

The men aged between 18 and 21 were arrested in Bauchi at Denco Hotel during what seemed to be a same-sex wedding.

But they were since out on bail, and their latest appearance in court in April this year was adjourned.

If found guilty, these 18 gay men will have to face one year imprisonment or thirty lashes.

But the LGBTI activists who have been following on the case intend to seek dismissal of the case due to lack of evidence.

According to Rev Macaulay the LGBTI community of Nigeria is shocked by these incidents.

“The LGBTI community is haunted by these incidents and are afraid to gather but they still have to go on with life”, he concluded.


sola said...

This sucks. I pray for the safety for the Nigerian LGBTI community, because we need to be alive to fight this war. No one is going to do it for us. Frankly, the road ahead looks very dark, but I hope that one day it will be bearable.

And fuck all the ignorant bigoted Nigerians who cannot bear to see others happy. Nobody is asking that they accept that homosexuality is right, because no one cares what they think. It is our rights that we care about. Our right to life, liberty, and security. Our right to be able to live without persecution because of what we choose to believe in. Our rights to love who we choose.

I do not, and will never care for a faith that accepts intolerance, and encourages hate, and the brutality of others.

Gina said...

Likewise I wish that Nigeria can cast of the shackles of Homophobia. In a World where there is so much prejudice against Africans it would be a victory for Nigerians if thewy could see all such bigotry comes from the same place of evil.

House of Rainbow you are the bravest of the brave

In solidarity