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By Ijabla Raymond

In Nigeria, university lecturers have been on strike for nearly 6 months; medical doctors are contemplating going on strike; the roads are death traps; people rely on generators for power as electricity supply is epileptic ; people have to sink wells or boreholes to supply their own homes with water; those who can’t have to buy water off the street from water vendors; Nigeria remains one of only three countries in the world where polio is endemic, the other two being Pakistan and Afghanistan; our hospitals are poorly resourced and people with money fly abroad for routine health checks; we have one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world; many state governments have refused to adopt the Child Rights Act, and those which have, are failing to enforce it; child marriages occur with reckless impunity and no one appears interested in banning the practice anytime soon; you get 7 years for raping a woman but 14 years for a consensual same-sex intercourse; we rely on foreign aid to assist with poverty alleviation despite our stupendous wealth; our government is one of the most corrupt in the world etc.

But guess what? The Nigerian government has chosen to prioritise anti-gay law over all of these pressing needs. The government feels that legislating on what two consenting adults choose to do in their closet takes precedence over all of the aforementioned problems.

Sadly, but as expected, this law has turned out to be very popular with Nigerians, who say that homosexuality is wrong because it contravenes God’s principles in the Quran and the Bible. They say that homosexuality is wrong because it is un-African, foreign and that it will lead to a de-population of the human race. But, if I may ask, what is African about Christianity and Islam? These religions are foreign to us and are very un-African, when are we going to ban them too?

Homosexuality is as old as human history and it exists in all human races. It even occurs amongst animals. Gay people lived freely and even got married in many African cultures pre-colonisation. It was colonisation, through the instrument of the twin foreign religions, Christianity and Islam, which criminalised homosexuality. Till date, those who live in northern Nigeria will be very familiar with the “yan daudu” – the third gender men who can be anything from transvestites, homosexuals, to bisexuals. I grew up in northern Nigeria and I remember how well these individuals were accepted – their lifestyles were even featured in TV dramas.

My question to those who say that homosexuality will lead to a de-population of the human race is: When should we start jailing heterosexual couples who practise anal and oral sex or couples who suffer from infertility or those couples who use contraception?

And to those who say that homosexuality is wrong because the Bible or Quran God said so, first of all, may I remind you that these religions are foreign to Africa and were instruments of slavery? They were used to subjugate our forefathers. Secondly, if we say that God is omnipotent or omniscient, then we must accept that it was His grand design and plan to create homosexuals, so, why destroy them?

Who would believe, that in the 21st century, we would still be making laws based on books that were written a few thousand years ago by men who reasoned that diseases were caused by demons and evil spirits? We need to separate religion from the State, it’s only in doing so that we can guarantee and uphold the human rights of all people.

This anti-gay law smirks of gross ignorance of our own history and culture. If we are going to make laws, then let’s do so from a position of knowledge and best evidence, and not ignorance or religious bigotry. I have included links at the bottom of this article for those who wish to know more about “yan daudu”, homosexual practices in pre-colonised Africa or the practice of adult men using young boys as sex slaves in Afghanistan (the dancing boys). I believe there are similar practices in Arab countries.

President Jonathan (GEJ) and his government have succeeded in distracting Nigerians from our main problem – corruption. I have seen photos of harmless gay people on news media being hounded into the back of vans with their hands cuffed, but those who steal our collective wealth and cause us untold hardship and death are not only walking freely, they are even worshipped by some of us. I will not be surprised if GEJ gets voted back into office for a 2nd term on the back of this popular, but inhumane, anit-gay law. I weep for this country.

Ijabla Raymond,
Medical doctor of Nigerian heritage writes from the UK

Email: Ijabla.Raymond@facebook.com

REFERENCES:
1.     http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/lgbt1208_webwcover.pdf

2.     Tritiya-Prakriti: People of the Third Sex. Pages 220 – 227

3.     Alternatively, swipe through pages 220 – 227 of this e-book:http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=iZ5RAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA221&lpg=PA223&ots=P…

4.     http://yoknyamdabale.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/africa-kill-the-gays/

5.     http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/10/nigeria-yan-daudu-persecution

6.     http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11217772

 

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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