Homophobic Nigerian youths and officials protested this week to demand harsher laws and a crackdown on LGBTIQ+ people in Nigeria.
By Mike Daemon
Even though a recent survey has shown some progress toward LGBTIQ+ acceptance in the country, Nigeria remains one of the most homophobic countries.
Many Nigerians are completely ignorant about LGBTIQ+ issues, which has led to countless violent attacks on LGBTIQ+ people.
A typical display of such ignorance and homophobia came Wednesday in Abuja in a protest spearheaded by the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC).
The protest focused on Bobrisky, a popular former cross-dresser who recently identified as a trans woman. However, members of the group who stormed the headquarters of the NCAC in Abuja held placards which read “NYCN is against LGBT”.
Speaking at the protest, Akhoshile Mukhtar, the vice president of the North Central region for NYCN, said:
“We are here to submit our petition to the president of the Nigerian Senate and also a copy to the speaker of the federal House of Representatives. The petition is nothing but just our concern about how we feel about the activities of Bobrisky, Mr. Idris Okuneye known as Bobrisky. We want the legislative, the National Assembly to please strengthen their legislation on how to nip down all those who are involved in lesbianism and gay activities…”
Also speaking at the protest, the NCACs director-general, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, vowed to support the fight against LGBTIQ+ people in Nigeria.
“We must come to tell the whole world that this is not part of our culture. Our culture is about decency…” he said.
Although the protest called for stronger anti-gay legislation, Nigeria already has repressive anti-LGBTIQ+ laws.
Nigeria’s Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act of 2014 calls for prison sentences of up to 14 years for any Nigerian who enters into a same-sex marriage and up to 10 years for anyone who attends or assists in a same-sex wedding. It also outlaws public display of any “same-sex amorous relationship” and provides for a 10-year prison sentence for anyone who “registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies organization” or “supports” the activities of such an organization.
To watch the video of the protest, click HERE.