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Britain urges Nigeria, others to legalise same-sex marriage

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• Onaiyekan, Okoh, Akintola, Bakare reject call
• PDP asks Buhari to seek help on security, economy

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has called for same-sex marriage in Nigeria and all other countries within the Commonwealth.

At the first joint forum at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Westminster yesterday, the prime minister said there should be no laws criminalising same-sex relationships across the Commonwealth.

May said she understood that most of the laws against same-sex marriage in the Commonwealth nations were made by the UK, arguing that “those laws were wrong then, and are wrong now.”

“Across the world, discriminatory laws made many years ago, continue to affect the lives of many people, tens of millions of young people, criminalising same-sex relations and failing to protect women and girls. As the UK’s prime minister, I deeply regret that those laws were introduced, we must respect one another’s cultures and traditions, but we must do so in a manner consistent with equality, as it is clearly stated in the Commonwealth charter,” she said.

In swift reactions, some leading Nigerian religious leaders rejected the call for same-sex marriage.

The Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, who was bitter with May’s call, said Nigeria should pull out of the Commonwealth.

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, who spoke to The Guardian on phone from Rome, said: “In my church, we condemn same-sex marriage. The National Assembly has clearly taken a position that is very much in line with that. It is also against our culture, which considers it as an abomination.

“Theresa May can say whatever she likes, but I hope that our own leaders know what is good for our people. I think she should also think of releasing the looted funds in their banks if she really wants to help us. The era of imperialism is over. I don’t know whether the Commonwealth has now become a legislative assembly. It is not a place where you legislate for everybody. We should let her know that we do not want it.”

Pastor Tunde Bakare, who spoke to The Guardian from the United Kingdom, said: “That is a perversion that will never be legalised in our country. It is for reprobates and not human beings.”

The National President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev. Felix Omobude, said May could do that in her country but not in Nigeria.

“This is Nigeria, we have our values. I am sure our president understands that. Our relationship with the Commonwealth does not cause us to sell out our values.”

The Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Prof. Lakin Akintola, urged Nigeria to reject same sex marriage. He said May’s call was a means to globalise corruption, lawlessness, adultery, fornication, homosexuality and lesbianism.

“We cannot allow colonialists to force their morally barren lifestyle on us. It is obvious that morally upright Muslims and Christians would reject it in totality. They have offered us before with conditions that they would give us support, transfer technology to us which is a lie. Colonial masters will never teach you what will benefit your country, they only think of their own country.”

The President of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Dr. Saheed Ashafa, said same sex marriage remained an abomination.

“Theresa and others with similar desires only need to remember that we are an independent nation with our own autonomy; our freedom of thought remains sacrosanct. Here in Nigeria, same sex marriage is unlawful, and it is so held. It is an abomination and a call for it is a call for destruction.”

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to show leadership and stop allowing his re-election interest to further de-market the nation and block Nigeria’s chances of accessing international help in critical sectors.

The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday said: “On Monday, our dear nation was burdened with yet another integrity issue following claims by President Buhari before British Prime Minister, Theresa May, that he was not preoccupied with the 2019 general election, when the world was already aware that he has since kicked off his campaign.”

PDP said “the wise thing all over the world is that well-meaning leaders relegate their personal interests, accept responsibility in the face of failure and use every opportunity to seek help and remedy a bad situation.

“Nigerians are therefore miffed that instead of presenting the true state of affairs in our country on his watch, particularly, the comatose economy and worsened insecurity, Buhari, obviously in a bid to give an impression of performance, chose to understate the challenges, thereby jeopardising the chances of securing much-needed international support for the country.”

According to the opposition party, in the last three years on Buhari’s watch, there have been little or no direct foreign investments; critical infrastructure has collapsed, with multinational companies relocating to other countries. Nigeria is no longer among the first ten investment destinations in Africa, leading to mass closure of businesses, massive job losses and biting poverty in the country.”


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