Infinix, one of Africa’s leading smartphone makers, is championing the fight against homosexuality and lesbianism in Nigeria.
The China-based phone manufacturing company has sponsored homophobic messages displayed on billboards placed around school campuses in Nigeria.
The University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) now has a large billboard near its campus with the homophobic slogan “Say No to Lesbianism, Homosexuality and Drug Abuse” sponsored by Infinix.
Rivers State University of Science & Technology (RSUST) and University of Benin (UNIBEN) reportedly also are sites of similar billboards sponsored by Infinix as part of an anti-corruption campaign.
Members of the Nigerian LGBT community, who frequently suffer violence and discrimination rooted in homophobia, expressed outrage that an international corporate brand such as Infinix would sponsor messages that could incite further violence against LGBT Nigerians — many of whom are its customers.
The messages suggest that homosexuality is bad and something to be avoided rather than a natural sexual orientation that is as valid as heterosexuality.
In Nigeria, homosexuals constantly experience discrimination and violence based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and LGBT students have also reported cases of abuse while in school.
A study carried out in 2017 by a Nigerian researcher Kehinde Okanlawon revealed not only that gay students in Nigerian universities experience discrimination but also that students have been expelled when they complained to school authorities.
Hong Kong-based Infinix Mobile manufactures its phones in China and sells them in about 30 countries. They are popular in the Middle East and in African countries including Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya and Cameroon.
Author Mike Daemon comments:
For Infinix, this might just be an opportunity to advertise and promote their brand so as to maximize sales, but these ads endanger the lives of members of the LGBT community who, like everyone else, want and deserve to live their lives in peace.