US, UK lobbied me to push for same-sex marriage in Nigeria – Former minister

National Assembly
Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi

Former Nigerian foreign affairs minister Bola Akinyemi said the United Kingdom and the United States lobbied him to influence the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the country.
Akinyemi, who served during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, said he told the UK and US that the matter of marriage between a man and woman was a no-go area for Nigerians.

He disclosed that the two countries to prevail on Nigerian authorities to reverse the policy while the legislation was being initiated at the National Assembly.

“I know how I was lobbied by the US and Britain when (former President Goodluck) Jonathan was in power,” Akinyemi said during an interview on Arise TV.

He narrated how “the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth came visiting when we had that legislation before the National Assembly.

“And he also consulted me about how he should handle the situation in his meeting with President Jonathan and I advised him that that was a ‘no-go area’ for us.
“(This is because) we don’t like being told the definition of marriage in Nigeria. I also told him that it (adopting gay marriage) will simply heat up the system.”

Nigerian law prohibits the (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual) LGBTQ community.

READ ALSO: Nigeria not a place for you, police warns LGBTQ+ community

Violation of the law would land erring persons about 14 years in jail according to the law signed by former President Jonathan on January 7, 2014

Despite the existence of the Same-Sex Prohibition Act, LGBTQ activists argued that laws restricting and stigmatising them were violations of their human rights to freedom of association.

Akinyemi while speaking on the controversial abortion rights by the Supreme Court in the United States said Nigeria’s culture and the western world are apart.

“I am not in favour of man and man marriage or woman and woman marriage,” Akinyemi said.
“Part of why I feel strongly about this man and man marriage or woman and woman marriage is the fact that the Americans even try to force down our throats in Nigeria.”

Nigeria police in January 2019 warned members of the LGBTQ+ community to “leave the country or face prosecution.”

Police spokesperson Dolapo Badmus said the “law says a person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies or organisations, directly or indirectly makes a public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years.

“Anyone convicted of entering into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union faces up to 14 years imprisonment. All LGBT candidates in Nigeria should beware.”
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