Nigerian police round up 100s of gays after everything gay is banned

A horrific development in Nigeria, as police round up 168 “suspected” gays.

According to human rights activists, cited by the AP, the police obtained a list of suspected gays by torturing someone.

Tell me again why we’re giving this country one dime?

The big news from Nigeria was yesterday was the signing into law of new legislation banning pretty much everything gay, including support for gays.  All of it will get your ten years in prison.

But it’s far worse than that.  Here’s a copy of a portion of the law Nigeria’s president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan signed:


Here it is written out:

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of Nigeria (Credit: World Economic Forum)

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of Nigeria (Credit: World Economic Forum)

“Any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisation, or directly or indirectly makes public show of same sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment. A person or group of persons who administers, witnesses, abets or aids the solemnization of a same sex marriage or civil union, or supports the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organisations, processions or meetings in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.”

Did you catch that last part?  Simply “supporting” gay clubs, societies, organizations, or “meetings” will get you ten years in prison.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has weighed in, as has Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.


And that’s all well and good, but at this point it just feels like words.  Far too many backwards African governments have launched a human rights pogrom on gay and trans people in their countries, aided and abetted by American religious right leaders, and inspired by the draconian crackdown in Russia.  Civilized countries need to do far more than just issue strong statements.

Like what?  Foreign aid.  Nigeria gets a good amount, depending on the country, and it’s aid that’s routinely stolen by government leaders.  Don’t tell me that those leaders wouldn’t be hurt by cutting it back.  Now, some worry that we hurt the Nigerian people by cutting aid (or cutting trade).  And yes, we do.  And we hurt the Russian people by limiting trade to the Soviet Union, and we hurt South Africans during apartheid.  Is the systematic governmental oppression of gays somehow different than oppression based on race or religion/ethnicity?

And what’s more, there are lots of poor countries that need our aid.  Yes, Nigerians would lose out.  But some other poor would gain.  Which means poor people in those countries, who aren’t being helped now by foreign aid, would be helped if we shifted our aid to those countries.  So it’s not clear at all that we’d be helping any fewer poor people if we shifted our aid away from Nigeria.

Nigeria is a country in which “Christians” kill children as “witches,” and where Anglican church leaders have called gay marriage a “Holocaust.”  Nigeria, by some reports, is one of the top 10 recipients of US aid.  I think we could find a better just-as-needy country to give our millions.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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