The Anglican Church in Nigeria Thursday said it welcomes government decision to push for legislation to outlaw homosexuality. The government said it will introduce legislation to punish homosexuality by up to five years in jail and ban same-sex marriages. A spokesman for Nigeria's Anglican Church described homosexuality as an abomination.
The spokesman for the Anglican church in Nigeria, Reverend Tunde Popoola, says the proposed ban is appropriate. The Anglican community in Nigeria has long waged a vigorous campaign against homosexuals, as Reverend Popoola explains.
"The Anglican church in Nigeria has been in the forefront of condemning the attitude because the church sees it as an aberration, in other words, we see it as against the norm. We see it as an abomination," he said.
Nigeria's cabinet Wednesday adopted a proposal to ban same-sex marriage as well as activities relating to gays and lesbians in Nigeria. A bill, which is to be introduced before the national assembly would stipulate a five-year jail term for anyone engaging in homosexual sex.
Justice Minister Bayo Ojo told reporters at the end of the cabinet meeting in Abuja that the idea is to check what he described as the infiltration of a negative foreign culture.
"It has been growing in the Western world. Just in December, the incidence crossed over to South Africa and we got worried," he said. So, Mr. President then thought it fit that we should bring a bill to council to prohibit relationships and marriages between people of the same sex."
The public in Nigeria is generally hostile to homosexuality, and the Anglican Church is the most vocal critic of same-sex marriage.
But in the streets, not all people agreed legislation to ban same-sex marriage is necessary.
"I believe that homosexuals and sex perverts have always been with us in this country and other parts of the world," said a respondent. "I know they exist. What I don't like about the whole thing is the idea of making noise about it, trying to be recognized like people who are normal sex people."
"I believe that we don't need any law banning same-sex marriage in this country," said another respondent. "Nigeria is essentially a traditional society and I have not seen anywhere, where a man married a man. Even things like lesbianism, homosexuality, they are done in the secret. Obasanjo should make laws, good laws that will improve the economy of this nation, things that will improve social standing and not things that are irrelevant to us."
Under Islamic Sharia law adopted by Muslim states in the north of Nigeria, homosexual sex is punishable by stoning to death, but no one has suffered such punishment.