Twenty-Four leading Nigerian academics, researchers, and journalists, have spoken out forcefully against the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Law recently signed by President Goodluck Jonathan, and which is drawing international rebuke to the country.
In a signed release from the United States titled “Nigeria’s Anti-Gay Law Is A Crime Against Reason” the academics slammed the Jonathan administration for the law, urging, “civil society and human rights groups to start a campaign that we hope will soon result in its abolition.”
Advocating strong diplomatic isolation against Nigeria, the group wanted United States and the United Kingdom to impose diplomatic sanctions like denial of visas on state functionaries, including journalists, the clergy, and policymakers who they charge as accomplices associated with the passing of the law.
They marshaled reasons why Nigerians should oppose this law, arguing that the decision was based on “a spurious, uninformed and one-dimensional reading of ‘African culture.’
No Nigeria should be criminalized on account of their natural sexual inclination, the academics said, insisting that decades of scientific research have proved “decisively that homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality.”
Querying why any law should be allowed to reverse the gains made by programs aimed at fighting the HIV-AIDS epidemic in the country, and why law enforcement agents should be allowed to go after innocent Nigerians in the name of upholding the law, the academics said the law impinges on Nigerians’ freedom of speech and association, and expressly violates the rights of minorities in a free and democratic society.
“It is not the business of any state, let along the Nigerian state, to interpose itself in the private affairs of two consenting adults” the academics said, insisting that “homosexuality does not harm us as a society and people. It is the hypocrisy, venality, and corruption that pervade our society that are the source of our problems.”
Among the signatories are Professors Ebenezer Obadare, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Akin Adesokan, University of Bloomington, Indiana, USA; and Wale Adebanwi, of the U iversity of California, Davis, USA;
Others are Amatoritsero Ede, Ottawa, Canada; Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome, Brooklyn, New York, USA; Olufemi Taiwo, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA; and Tejumola Olaniyan, of the University of Wisconsin, at Madison, USA;