Lagos - A prominent human rights activist accused Nigeria Government of diversion from pressing social, economic and political issues to persecute the gay and lesbian community.
California Founder Nigeria (CAL) urged government to channel more energies towards the "clear and present dangers" of poverty, insecurity, violence, corruption as well as collapse of institutions and infrastructure.
Its sentiments come days after President Goodluck Jonathan assented to a law that critics argue clamps down on gays and lesbians.
“The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition law is an impractical, non-enforceable, abuse prone diversion from the clear and present dangers of poverty, insecurity, violence, collapse of institutions and infrastructure as well as corruption that are the real challenges the Nigerian government must tackle," the organisation stated.
"Gay people in Nigeria have never demanded their right, never mind marriage. The law is mischievous and designed to stoke a mob mentality to distract from real issues. As a reaction to perceived pressure from trends in the West and possible pressure from Western governments, we would do much better to assert such laudable independent will and sovereignty in the area of better global economic negotiation and leverage to guarantee prosperity and development for our people.”
The network said the debate about homosexuality was completely different from "this dangerous law that criminalizes everyone, contravenes parts of Nigeria’s constitution and ignores basic tenet of universal human rights, which Nigeria is signed on to."
"It is so ill thought out and vindictive, it is un-implementable except as a tool of witch-hunt, victimisation and abuse, especially of the poor and powerless. This is ominous in a country that is already politically fragile, economically unjust and fractious along ethnic and religious lines," the group said.
It added,“Homosexuality is a noun, not a verb; as such it is non-injurious to others. The centuries of its existence in Nigeria has not slowed down human reproduction. Science has proved it is not a lifestyle choice. Insisting otherwise is ignorant and retrogressive. It will stunt the management of the impending HIV and AIDS pandemic, of which Nigeria is at risk. Our common humanity rests on freedom and justice for all, regardless of our differences.”
- CAJ News