Nigerian security services and the police are harassing and intimidating some gay activists in the country for defending the rights of gays and lesbians, a group said in a statement on Sunday, a month after lawmakers outlawed homosexuality in Nigeria.
A bill to outlaw gay marriage and crackdown on gay rights activists as well as criminalise public displays of affection between same-sex couples was passed by the Nigerian House of Representatives on 30 May.
The House of Representatives had unanimously approved the bill which provides for jail terms of up to 14 years for gay marriage.
It also set out a 10-year sentence for “any person who directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship”.
But Nigerian gay activists under the umbrella of ‘Our Right Defense’ said they decided to issue a statement after a meeting in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
“We have in Abuja, Nigeria, again voiced out opposition on the undemocratic attack meted on our members and the Nigerian people over sexuality,” the group said in a statement signed by Olasunkanmi Azeezt O., K. Michael Olanrewaju, and Babatunde Samsondeen.
The group said several of its members face harassment and intimidation even as some of them have been arrested by security forces for simply expressing its feelings on human rights violation in the country.
“Everyone should have the liberty to life and choice of living to enhance development and to promote and acceptability by United Nations on universal declaration for freedom expression and choice for all nationality and the world at large,” the statement read.
The group said among those who have been declared wanted are Lizzy betty, Precious Rita, Penu Koffi Z, Orilonise Hakeem I, Anisere Olaniran A., Egwabor Felix, Adesanmi Simeon and Taiwo Olorunmako.
The group also lamented the inability of the Nigerian government to judiciously utilise the nation’s economic gains for development as well as for fair and equal distribution of national resources.