ABUJA, December 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Nigerian government has put the Western world on notice that if the cost of accepting aid is to allow same-sex couples to “marry,” that’s a price the country is unwilling to pay.
Nigeria’s House of Representatives recently unanimously approved a bill banning same-sex unions, despite threats from the Obama administration and United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron that they would consider withholding aid if the country didn’t recognize gay rights. The bill would impose a 14-year prison sentence on anyone who enters a “same-sex marriage contract or civil union” or aids and abets such an action. Public displays of affection between homosexuals would result in a ten-year jail sentence. The bill also bans gay clubs and organizations.
“[Same-sex ‘marriage’] is alien to our society and culture and it must not be imported,” said House majority leader Mulikat Adeola-Akande. “This practice has no place in our culture, religion, Nigeria or anywhere in Africa. It is immorality and debasement of our culture, we condemn it in totality.”
Rep. Adams Jagaba said Nigerians should reject Western attitudes toward same-sex unions. “We are a cultured people,” he said, “we cannot carry everything from other cultures.”
Rep. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha said she hoped the vote would send a strong signal to Western nations that Nigeria’s morals and ethical values are not for sale.
Nigeria is a strongly religious nation whose population is split about equally between Christians and Muslims. Legislation against same-sex relationships enjoys widespread popular support. The vast majority of criticism has come from outside the country, and outside the continent.
When the bill was being debated in the Nigerian Senate last year, the U.K.’s Cameron said he thought there ought to be more “strings attached” to foreign aid, and that he would consider cutting off aid to countries that failed to toe the liberal Western line on homosexuality. After the bill passed the Senate, the Obama administration ordered U.S.-led foreign aid organizations to use their resources to promote homosexual acceptance abroad.
At the time, these threats and manipulations sparked outrage among Nigerians and other Africans who saw the West’s ultimatums as colonial-style abuses of power. Even Ghanaian President John Atta Mills, a major Western ally, said his country would reject aid if the terms required them to violate their morality. “I will never initiate or support any attempt to legalize homosexuality in Ghana,” he told state media. “As government we will abide by the principles as contained in our Constitution, which is supreme.”
Now that the Nigerian bill has passed the House, it has gone to the Committee of the Whole for a clause-by-clause review before a final vote will send it to President Goodluck Jonathan for approval.
Gay activists in the U.S. have launched an online petition urging Jonathan to veto the legislation.