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Nigeria’s Retrogressive Anti-Gay Law By Abiodun Ladepo.

By Abiodun Ladepo

This past Wednesday, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan elevated crassness and primitiveness to the highest level imaginable by signing into law a bill banning homosexuality in Nigeria.  I deliberately crafted the previous sentence so unambiguously.  He did not just ban homosexual marriage; he banned homosexuality as a whole!  Perhaps if the law had only stopped at “persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison,” one might not feel so much outrage.  But it went on to state that “any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison”!  In essence, only heterosexuals are allowed to hold hands in public, sit on each other’s lap, hump each other while dancing in clubs or kiss publicly.  What, in the name of God, just happened to Nigeria?

Let me state upfront that I am a Straight (heterosexual) guy who is happily married to a beautiful woman.  So, this write-up is not about me or my sexual preference.  It is about Nigeria’s lack of originality and lack of creative instincts.  We the people, along with our leaders, fail to do the deep thinking, the due diligence, in many respects that will take our country farther and more quickly than we have hitherto done.  Lethargy is irredeemably ingrained in our psyche.  Otherwise, how does being openly gay draw our country back?  We already have thousands of gay people in our midst!  How does their gayness prevent those of us who are not gay from going about our businesses?

This law assumes that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community just arrived in Nigeria yesterday.  No, the LGBT has been with us since, at least, when I was a young boy over 50 years ago.  I recall growing up in (yes) Zaria, Kaduna State, of all places, and going to watch evening dances of members of the LGBT.  We used to call them “Dandaudu.”  We, the kids, used to marvel at their public display of amorous acts.  This was in the early 60s.  They were not hidden behind the walls of any clubs in the middle of the night; they danced in open spaces and in early evenings.  I have also personally witnessed “Dandaudus” doing their dances in Bukuru, Jos, Bauchi and Maiduguri in the 70s.  And if you lived in the hostel during your secondary school years, don’t tell me that you did not catch a few of your guy friends “doing it.”  I have heard from some of my secondary school female friends of the sexual trysts that went on in their hostel.  Let’s not even talk about what happens in the dorms of our universities.  So, why are we just now finding out that their presence in our midst is anathema and antithetical to our moral fiber?

Reuben Abati, that formerly celebrated anti-bad government champion, who is now a turncoat and who I now detest with so much passion, defended the law with the pedestrian argument that since 90 percent of Nigerians were opposed to same-sex marriage, “…the law is in line with our cultural and religious beliefs.”   Ninety percent?  First, how did we come up with that percentage?  When did we poll the country to ascertain that 90 percent of our people oppose same-sex marriage?  And even if they do, what right does the majority have to trample on the basic right of the minority – the fundamental human right to freedom of association?  What right does the majority have to deprive the minority of having sex with whomever it wants as long as it is consensual?  The worst that the Nigerian government should have been able to do should have been the denial of official recognition of such a union. But to criminalize it is akin to despotism, especially in a democratic dispensation.

And by the way, since when has this government or any past Nigerian government taken a decision in favor of an issue perceived to have received the support of the majority of Nigerians?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the removal or Stella Oduah as Aviation minister, Diezani Madueke as Petroleum minister and Reuben Abati as adviser?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the banning of government officials, especially the President, from seeking medical attention abroad until our medical facilities and personnel are of the same standard as those they use when they go abroad?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the supply of 24/7 uninterrupted electricity to all corners of Nigeria?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the revamping, rejuvenating and reinvigorating of the EFCC so it can better fight corruption?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support a massive overhaul of our educational infrastructures from elementary all the way to university systems?  Don’t 90 percent of our people oppose the blocking of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by mega-churches and mega-mosques?  Have our lawmakers crafted any laws that criminalize the failure by government to do the things mentioned above?  No.  But these nosey people are eager to get into the bedrooms of Nigerians.

I find this homophobic inclination that is so rampant in our country as yet another example of religious zealotry and self-righteousness that have been the bane of our society.  Everybody is stampeding and trampling each other today in their quest to out-do one another as they condemn homosexuality.  But we will find out one day – tomorrow maybe –  just as we have found out in Europe and America that even family members of influential government officials can be (and are indeed) gay!  In fact, we will soon find out that membership in the LGBT community cuts across all spectra of our society – from the ranks of elected politicians, to traditional rulers, military officers, police officers, teachers, technocrats, pastors, imams, babalawos, traders and what not.  And what are we going to do when we find out that one of these influential people whom we had thought was heterosexual was indeed bisexual?  Would we throw OBJ or IBB or GEJ or Mama Iyabo or Dame Patience or any of their children into 14 years of prison terms if any of them turns out to be gay? What would we do when we discover that Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye or his wife, Folu do engage in homosexual acts (with other partners, of course)?  What about Sheik Muhammad Yahaya Sanni and his many wives?  Are we going to give them immunity against prosecution?

This is why I stated earlier that our leaders did not subject this law to a rigorous and intellectual discuss before allowing their emotion, religion and communal bandwagon mentality to overtake their sense of reason.  Before the bill was adopted by the Senate in 2011, a few Nigerian members of the LGBT community, supported by some civil rights activists, appeared before the Senate to argue against enacting such a law.  The lawmakers and religious zealots in the chambers of the Senate booed and heckled these gay folks till they cried and left in disgrace.  Among the booing and heckling crowd were men who maintain two, three, four or more wives – wives who are subjugated, mentally and are physically abused.  Among this crowd were women who cheat on their husbands with their pastors and imams to the extent of making babies out-of-wedlock while their husbands thought the babies were theirs.  These people, in my opinion, lack the moral right to tell a gay man or woman whom to love and whom to cavort with in public.

Believe me, gays are the least of Nigeria’s problems.  Graft in high places, greed in high places, hired assassination, kidnapping, murder, armed robbery, neglect of rural areas, neglect of urban areas, lack of functioning basic amenities like electricity, water, hospitals, education, transportation, youth unemployment – all take precedence over what my neighbor is doing in his/her bedroom.  I am ashamed that my leaders do not see this.

And I get it. I get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  Even if I wonder how truly religious we are when we watch our religious leaders steal from the religious houses and sexually abuse the laity; even if I sometimes wonder why our religious leaders live in obscene opulence while they watch their followers wallow in abject poverty, I still get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  It is the reason why an issue such as gay rights should have been thoroughly debated intellectually.  I hope the passing of this primitive and retrogressive law begins the rigorous discussion of how we allow members of the LGBT to bask in their rightful sense of belonging.  We should lead Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia out of the comity of nations still wedded to the archaic tradition of segregating their own people on the basis of sexual preferences.

We should join South Africa, Zaire, Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Mali (yes, Chad, Niger and Mali), Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea Bissau in the comity of nations that embrace the diversity of their people’s sexual preferences and have legislated to protect the rights of their LGBT people.

By Abiodun Ladepo

Los Angeles, California, USA


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Moroccan Christian Jailed for ‘Shaking the Faith of a Muslim’.

Morocco is ranked 39th on the Open Doors International’s World Watch List, which reports on countries where it is difficult to practice Christianity.

A Moroccan Christian man has been jailed for two-and-a-half years and fined for evangelizing.

Mohamed el Baldi, 34, from the town of Ain Aicha, near Fes, was ordered to pay 5000 dirhams ($600) for “shaking the faith of a Muslim” at a court hearing on Sept. 3.

He was arrested after his house was raided on Aug. 28 and items linked to his faith, such as his Bible, were confiscated.

Propagating Christianity is prohibited under Article 220 of the Moroccan Penal Code. The law states it is unlawful to stop one or more persons from practicing their religion by force, violence or threats.

By law, the maximum punishment for this offense is three to six months’ imprisonment and a fine of 200 to 500 dirhams. However, el Baldi has been punished much more strictly.

El Baldi, who is understood to have converted to Christianity around seven years ago, admitted friendship with two American Christians who provided him with Christian materials and confirmed that he attended Christian meetings in the cities of Meknes and Rabat.

During the court hearing, his mother was said to have been hysterical and to have asked Allah to exact revenge on whoever “tampered” with the mind of her son.

Morocco is ranked 39th on the Open Doors International’s World Watch List, which reports on countries where it is difficult to practice Christianity.

In 2010, a number of foreign Christians were declared as “a danger” to the country and expelled.

Of the 33 million population of Morocco, over 99 percent is Muslim. The rest is comprised predominantly of Christians and Jews.



Christians, Muslims Join Forces to Fight Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Muslim Brotherhood supporters
Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi display a poster of Morsi during a protest in Cairo Friday. (Reuters/Muhammad Hamed)

In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has promised retaliation against the actions of the Egyptian government and vows there will be much bloodshed. The Muslim Brotherhood has burned 70 churches in the last week. In addition, more than 1,000 people have died, and the families of XploreNations Bible College students were tortured.

Some have called the uprising that took place in June a coup. It was not that at all, but rather a demand to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood has been portrayed by the media as a group of peaceful protesters. The truth is that the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist party connected to al-Qaida and jihad groups. During the Muslim Brotherhood presidential period, Egypt’s resources were directed to Gaza to serve people there while the Egyptians suffered.

Over the last year, Christians were continually threatened by the Muslim Brotherhood and fanatic Muslims. Russ Adams, the founder of XploreNations Bible College, which is headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., recently risked his life in Egypt to be there with his staff and students. They walked through Ramses Square, where much of the fighting has taken place. There were burned-out cars all along the streets. Adams was able to talk with Egyptian soldiers who are trying to defend the people. They have vowed not to take any more violence from the Muslim Brotherhood.

XploreNations was to hold its graduation ceremony on Friday, Aug. 16. More than 500 students throughout Egypt planned to attend the ceremony, which had to be postponed due to the impending threats of bloodshed by the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood has made public Christian gatherings some of their primary targets.

The in-laws of an XploreNations student were the target of Muslim Brotherhood terrorism. Their family business and their home were burned to the ground. The Muslim Brotherhood tried to burn the family along with the home, but the family was able to escape. The Muslim Brotherhood captured them, however, and tortured them by stripping off all their clothes, cutting the hair of the women, and making them walk on broken glass barefoot.

In the midst of the chaos and terrorism, God has shown Himself strong. Muslims and Christians have joined forces to fight against the Muslim Brotherhood. Because Christian gatherings were primary targets for the Muslim Brotherhood, Muslims began to do their praying in various churches in the Cairo region so as to prevent terrorist attacks on those churches. This united force has stood firm against the Muslim Brotherhood and derailed many of their attempted attacks.

XploreNations Egypt has survived two revolutions over the course of four years. Students have endured much just to be able to travel to the college campuses. At one point, former President Mohammed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, put severe restrictions on gasoline so that a vast supply could be sent to Gaza. XploreNations students bought gasoline in individual cans and then carpooled in order to get to the campuses.

In the midst of these uprisings, invitations to open campuses have come from many Arab countries, such as Kuwait, Algeria, Syria and Morocco. Through these revolutions, the Egyptian students have remained strong and determined to see change in their nation and throughout the entire Middle East.


‘Bible’ Satan Actor: Obama Resemblance ‘Nonsense,’ But Good for Career.

The Bible's Satan
Moroccan actor Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni playing the part of the devil in ‘The Bible.’ (History Channel)

Mehdi Ouazzani, the actor who played Satan in The Bible, says his supposed resemblance to President Obama was “nonsense”–but has helped raise his profile.

The Morrocan actor spoke to the Associated Press in Casablanca.

“For someone like me, a simple unknown actor, to find himself in a controversy like this–even though it’s nonsense–it makes me known around the world, so it’s something positive,” he said, chuckling.

The AP said that with his “gray hair pulled back in a ponytail, an expressive face and a slim Errol Flynn-style pencil mustache,” Ouazzani doesn’t actually resemble Obama or a stereotypical devil.

The miniseries was a hit for History, and drew headlines worldwide because of the supposed resemblance between Satan and Obama. The network and producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey said they never intended the resemblance.


Jews Embrace Mimouna Following Passover.

Mimouna celebration

Immediately after the close of the seventh day of Passover is the Moroccan-Jewish festival called Mimouna.

There has been a Jewish presence in Morocco since 70 A.D. Since then, the Moroccan Jews have migrated to other countries, including Israel, France and Turkey, taking the Jewish version of the celebration of the Mimouna festival with them.

One of the historical correlations prior to Islam in Morocco celebrates the physical freedom the Hebrews experienced after being saved from the pursuing Egyptian army at the Sea of Reeds on the seventh day after fleeing Egypt.

Much of the Jewish population left Morocco at the time of the creation of Israel. Muslims celebrated a pagan version of this festival, which Moroccan Jews changed.

Jews did not eat outside of their homes during Passover, which caused them to fall under the suspicion of Islamic rulers, so Moroccan Jews, immediately after Passover, opened their doors to their neighbors for anyone to come and dine with them with blessing so as to keep the peace.

In Israel, over 1 million people are of Moroccan Jewish ancestry. North African Jewish immigrants celebrated the Mimouna with their families after settling in Israel. It was introduced as a national holiday in 1966.

During this festival, people go from house to house, visiting friends and family while wearing traditional North African clothing, and eating sweet foods. The following day is devoted to family celebrations, visiting and hosting, and many public areas host hundreds of people for barbecues in the parks.

For this interfaith holiday, Moroccan Jews would give all of their flour, yeast and grain that remained before Passover to their Muslim neighbors. In return, their Muslim neighbors were often the first to visit the Jews after Passover and would bring them sweets and other food items that were now permissible for Jews to eat.

Mimouna foods symbolize the Sea of Reeds, where the miracle that God performed for the Hebrews took place on the seventh day after the Hebrews fled Egypt. It represents the miracle of the “splitting” of the Sea of Reeds by God through Moses’ strike of his staff on the waters that allowed the Hebrews to escape the pursuing Egyptian army.

Mimouna foods include a live fish swimming in a bowl of water or fish placed on a plate with a bed of vegetables and lettuce; Moroccan sweet foods; mint tea; and coins that symbolize the coins that were washed up on the shoreline after the Egyptian army drowned in the Sea of Reeds.

Mimouna is called the holiday that makes the happiness of the Pesach exodus complete, with personal redemption.

For the original article, visit


Morocco refuses entry to EU lawmakers.

Morocco refuses entry to 4 EU lawmakers on trip to Western Sahara, annexed in 1975

BRUSSELS (AP) — Four members of the European Parliament, on their way to study human rights in Western Sahara, have been denied entry to Morocco.

They were headed for Laayoune, a city in a part of mineral-rich Western Sahara annexed by Morocco in 1975. The legislators had announced their plans in a letter to the Moroccan ambassador to theEuropean Union on Feb. 25.

The ambassador’s reply, dated March 5, arrived while the parliamentarians were already in transit, the leader of the delegation said Thursday. The ambassador’s letter said the members of Parliamentheld “excessive politicized views against the interests of Morocco.” It went on to say that Morocco did not expect the visit could “provide an objective, credible report,” and the visit would not be welcomed.

Ivo Vajgl, of Slovenia, the leader of the delegation, said the four landed Wednesday in Casablanca, where they were met by local police, refused entry and put back on their planes.

“It was humiliating,” Vajgl said. “It was absolutely unacceptable. It was a demonstration of totalitarian disregard of decency and democratic standards.”

He objected strongly to the ambassador’s letter and called for him to be banned from the European Parliament. He said the aim of the visit had been to meet with representatives of civil society and with local Moroccan authorities, as well.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso visited Morocco on March 1-2. Following meetings with Moroccan officials, Barroso praised the political, economic and social reforms the country had made. He added that relations between the North African country and the EU were excellent and would soon develop further with the negotiation of a free-trade agreement.

A spokeswoman for Barroso had no immediate comment Thursday on the expulsions.

The Moroccan Interior Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Communications Ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the incident.


Don Melvin can be reached at


By Don Melvin, Associated Press | Associated Press

Five killed as small plane crashes near Grenoble.

LYON, France (Reuters) – A French-Moroccan family of five were killed on Saturday when their small, twin-engined private plane crashed near Grenoble airport in the foothills of the French Alps, alocal government official said.

The plane, which had been heading to Morocco via Spain, came down just after takeoff near the village of Saint-Pierre-de-Bressieux, about 50 km (30 miles) northwest of Grenoble.

The two parents and three children aged between 8 and 14 were returning to Morocco after a skiing holiday in the Alps, the official said. The cause of the crash was not clear.

(Reporting by Catherine Lagrange; Writing by John Irish; Editing by Kevin Liffey)



Explosion targets Syrian Interior Ministry building in Damascus, state TV says.

BEIRUT – An explosion targeted the Syrian Interior Ministry building Wednesday in the capital,Damascus, state TV said. There was no immediate word on casualties.

Rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad have been making inroads in their advance toward Damascus, the seat of the government, in recent weeks. Fighting has intensified in the southern districts of the Syrian capital and its suburbs.

The conflict started nearly 21 months ago as an uprising against Assad, whose family has ruled the country for four decades. It quickly morphed into a civil war, with rebels taking up arms to fight back against a bloody crackdown by the government.

According to activists, more than 40,000 people have been killed since March 2011.

Rebels have targeted the centre of Damascus with bomb attacks in the past, most dramatically in July when they detonated explosives inside a high-level crisis meeting in Damascus that killed four top regime officials, including Assad’s brother-in-law and the defence minister.

An al-Qaida linked group, Jabhat al-Nusra, has claimed many deadly blasts inside Syria.

On the political front, more than 100 countries recognized a new opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people during an international meeting being held in Morocco. The U.S. also has declared the coalition is the “legitimate representative” of its country’s people. The moves open the way for greater humanitarian assistance to the forces battling Assad and possibly even military aid.

But the presence of extremist groups among the rebel forces has raised concerns in the U.S. and other nations that are supporting the opposition in Syria but do not want to see extremists gain power in the region. The U.S. has blacklisted Jabhat al-Nusra — Arabic for Victory Front — as a foreign terrorist organization and said the group was part of al-Qaida in Iraq.

Al-Nusra fighters appear to be among the most effective fighting forces on the rebel side, spearheading many recent gains.

 Source: YAHOO NEWS.
By Elizabeth A. Kennedy, The Associated Press | Associated Press

France not ready to arm Syrian opposition: foreign minister.

Marrakech, Morocco (Reuters) – French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday that it was too early for France to supply weapons to Syrian rebels trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

“For now we have decided not to move on this,” Fabius told reporters ahead of a Friends of Syria meeting in Morocco. “We shall see in the coming months.”

(Reporting By John Irish; writing by Nick Vinocur; editing by Mark John)



Illness forces Clinton to briefly delay trip to meeting on Syria.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been taken ill with a stomach virus and will delay by one day her trip to Morocco for a meeting on the future of Syria‘s opposition,the State Department said on Sunday.

Clinton, who had been due to depart for the meeting in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on Monday, will now leave on Tuesday, spokesman Philippe Reines said in an emailed statement.

“Because she has a stomach virus, our departure for Morocco has been moved from Monday to Tuesday. She will not have any schedule tomorrow in Washington,” Reines said.

Clinton is due to join foreign ministers from allied nations in Morocco to discuss the 20-month old Syria crisis as rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad push forward on the battlefield and take steps to unify the political opposition.

The Morocco meeting of the “Friends of Syria” group is expected to focus on new moves to strengthen and legitimize the recently formed Syrian opposition coalition.

Clinton may announce formal U.S. recognition of the group as “the legitimate representative” of the Syrian people. Such an endorsement could pave the way for it to become a government-in-waiting and to receive fresh U.S. humanitarian help for a mounting refugee crisis spilling across Syria’s borders.

Clinton is scheduled to continue from Morocco to Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

She has kept up a punishing pace in her final weeks as secretary of state, a position she says she intends to leave once President Barack Obama begins his second term in late January.

She returned to the United States late on Friday from a trip to Europe, which included a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels. She stopped in Ireland where she met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss whether Washington and Moscow can resolve sharp disagreements over the way forward on Syria.

Russia and China have vetoed three United Nations Security Council resolutions aimed at pressuring the Assad government to halt the violence and begin a political transition. Moscow, a longtime ally of Syria, has accused the United States and its allies of seeking to destabilize the Damascus government.

Both Clinton and Lavrov emerged from the Dublin meeting indicating that no immediate breakthrough was at hand, but U.S. and Russian officials have held more talks as rebels appear to bringing the fighting to the doorstep of Syria’s capital.

(Reporting By Andrew Quinn; editing by Christopher Wilson)



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