ABUJA, Nigeria — In a country contentiously split among Muslims and Christians, leaders of Nigeria’s mosques and churches are united in their condemnation of same-sex relationships.
So, too, are lawmakers, who’ve criminalized sodomy, civil unions and gay marriages, with a 14-year prison sentence as punishment. In some northern regions, flogging and the death penalty come into play.
The Same-Sex Prohibition Act, signed into law on Jan. 7 by President Goodluck Jonathan, criminalizes public displays of affection between same-sex couples and restricts the work of organizations defending gay people and their rights.
“This law criminalizes the lives of gay and lesbian people, but the damage it would cause extends to every single Nigerian,” LGBT activists said. “It undermines basic universal freedoms that Nigerians have long fought to defend and is a throwback to past decades under military rule when civil rights were treated with contempt.”
This new legislation could lead to imprisonment solely for a person’s actual or imputed sexual orientation.