By Davis Mac-Iyalla
The bill to ban same sex-relationships has been dormant for some time in the Nigerian House of Representatives. Due to recent pressure from Nigerian LGBT Rights Organizations and other international defenders of LGTBT Human Rights, the bill is going to be debated again tomorrow, 14 February, by the Nigerian law makers. This news arrived as Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, arrived in Dar Es Salaam to try and meet Archbishop Peter Akinola and other Primates to show the commitment of LGBT Nigerian Anglicans to their church.
If this bill is not stopped now it will make most lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people illegal in their own country. With their families and friends and anyone they associate with, they will be immediately criminalized. Those arrested under the provision of the law will face a jail sentence of between 5 and 14 years. Some will be forced into exile by this repressive legislation. Any bishop or priest who befriends, baptises, confirms or welcomes an LGBT person into their church will also be guilty of a criminal offence.
The Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Archbishop Peter Akinola is at the moment in Tanzania meeting with the other Primates. He is a strong supporter of this bill which threatens the lives and security of tens of thousands of LGBT people in Nigeria.
We are appealing to the Primates in the name of God to add your voices to others who have been calling on the Nigerian Government to stop progress on this bill and withdraw it immediately. The bill will make it impossible for the Anglican Communion to engage in the listening process in Nigeria to which you, the Primates, have committed yourselves in Lambeth resolution 1.10 and the Windsor report. It discriminates against LGBT people. It criminalizes a group which the church claims to love and should in Christian charity be determined to protect from abuse and persecution.
Although the bill has not yet been passed into law, yet it has been implemented by many groups and individuals in Nigerian society. Davis Mac-Iyalla the director of CAN has himself received telephone calls and emails threatening to end his life and bathe him with acid. This is but just one example of the many threats LGBT people are facing in Nigeria as a result of the proposed bill, threats reported by members of CAN in their diocesan groups.
Issued on behalf of Changing Attitude Nigeria
Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director
White Sands Hotel, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania