NIGERIAN President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill this week that criminalizes same-sex marriage, same-sex romantic relationships and membership in gay rights groups, and punishes violations with up to 14 years in prison.
Protests by the U.S. and other nations may not move Jonathan since 1. anti-gay actions tend to boost politicians in much of Sub-Saharan Africa and 2. Nigeria is awash in oil money and isn’t scared of threats to cut aid.
CBS reports that Dozens of gay men are reported to have been arrested across northern Nigeria as police begin to enforce punitive new laws Some of the gay men were allegedly tortured to give up names of other gay men.
The legislation, condemned by the US secretary of state, John Kerry, and human rights groups in Europe, has come into force shortly after the Ugandan parliament passed an Anti-Homosexuality Act.
Dorothy Aken’Ova, executive director of the country’s International Centre for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights, said that the legislation, hailed the “Jail the Gays” law, had led to mass arrests. Police in Bauchi state, she claimed, had a list of 168 purportedly gay men, of whom 38 had been arrested.
The laws, she cautioned, will endanger medical programmes combating HIV-Aids in the gay community. Nigeria has the second-largest HIV epidemic globally with an estimated 3.4 million people living with HIV.