On the same day he departed on official visit to the USA, Nigerians urge President Buhari to say emphatic No to his host President Obama on Gay issue
Stories: Chris Uba
Few hours before President Muhammadu Buhari jetted out to the United States yesterday for an official visit, Nigerians under the aegis of an NGO, Project for Human Development (PHD), a Civil Society Organisation, held a rally at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos to press home their demand: “Don’t Listen To Obama On Gay Issues”. The rally, which drew over 50 persons, had a representational audience cutting across the professions, particularly law and youth of both sexes.
They urged President Buhari not to listen to the US government on issues of gay rights, so as to protect the laws and values of Nigeria. The theme of the rally was, “Gay Marriage: Obama, Please Leave Nigeria Alone”.
Indeed, the gay issue also attracted the attention of prominent Nigerians from across religious divide during the weekend. The Chief Imam of Benin City, Abdulfattah Enabulele and first Republic Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amechi joined the chorus of Nigerians urging Buhari to turn a deaf ear to Obama on the gay issue throughout the duration of his visit.
Buhari will today, July 20, be at Washington DC on a fourday official visit, during which he will hold talks with President Barack Obama and other senior officials of the United States government. Presidential spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, however said in a statement that the President’s agenda includes trade and security.
He said: “Topmost on the agenda of President Buhari’s talks with President Obama and United States Government officials will be measures to strengthen and intensify bilateral and international cooperation against terrorism in Nigeria and West-Africa.
“President Buhari who will meet with President Obama at the White House on Monday, July 20, will later hold further discussions with the Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey and the Deputy Secretary of Defence, Robert Work on military and defence cooperation.
“The President will also meet with Vice President Joe Biden and confer with the US Attorney-General, Loretta Lynch, the US Secretary of Treasury, Jack Lew, the US Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker and the US Trade representative, Michael Froman on United States support for his administration’s war against corruption as well as fresh measures to boost Nigeria-United States trade relations.”
Even so Nigerians are apprehensive that the US government may be up to some games, particularly after a top government official openly admitted five days ago that the gay issues is Obama’s foremost agenda on Nigeria. The official, Linda Thomas Grienfield, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs had said, “As a government, it is one of the highest priorities and strongest values that discrimination against anyone based on their sexual orientation and gender identity is wrong.
We believe human rights should be available to everybody. As a policy, we will continue to press the government of Nigeria as well as other government who have provided legislation against the LGBT community.”
Obama had threatened to sever foreign aid to Nigeria when then president Goodluck Jonathan signed a law barring same-sex marriage in the African country in January 2014. Mr Jerry Okwuosa, Director-General of PHD, said that the rally in Lagos on the day of Buhari’s departure for the US trip was to hint the president on the fears by Nigerians that Obama might ask him to decriminalise “the Same Sex Prohibition Law of Nigeria”.
According to him, this is a way for the US to promote gay rights, which is a part of America foreign policy. ‘’The US is now the major exporter of gay rights in the world. It has recently pressurised Uganda for a reverse of its anti-gay law. ‘’Under the influence of the US, Mozambique has recently decriminalized its anti-gay law. At the moment, US is putting pressure on Kenya to legalize gay Marriage.
“President Obama is meeting with President Buhari tomorrow to discuss issues which include security, economy, Ebola and gay marriage legalisation in Nigeria. “Fear is being entertained that Obama might trade off US assistance to President Buhari’s government with shooting down Goodluck Jonathan’s anti-gay law.
“We are however, urging President Buhari to reject such a trade-off, ‘’ he said. Also speaking, Mr Sonnie Ekwowusi, a director of PHD, noted that the only way to avoid chaos in any society was for the legislature to make laws in accordance with the values and aspirations of the people.
According to him, homosexuality is not Nigeria culture; it is a taboo or abomination. ‘’Homosexuality is not our culture. Every society has its own values and should grow with those values. Nigeria has her own values and we must stick to our values and tradition. “Laws are made in consonant with the values of the people.
Every country is interested in protecting what it holds dear.“Our view is that homosexuality is an acquired habit that ought to be eradicated and not be transformed into an acceptable human conduct by law (in Nigeria). “Our recommendation with regard to same sex marriage is absolute prohibition,” Ekwowusi said.
The peaceful rally featured placards with inscriptions such as- ‘Obama, Please leave Nigeria Alone’; ‘Gay Marriage should Remain Illegal in Nigeria’; ‘Obama is Not God’; ‘Gay Marriage, Buhari Don’t Listen to Obama’.
The protesters, numbering about 50, and including lawyers and youth leaders of both sexes, paraded from the Tafawa Balewa Square, through Lagos City Hall, to the MUSON Centre.
Hammering on the issue at the weekend, the Chief Imam of Benin City Central Mosque, Abdulfattah Enabulele, who led other Muslims faithful to pay Eid-El-Fitri celebration homage to the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, in Government House on Friday in Benin, made the gay issues the main topic of the visit.
He said: “Sir, America and Europe seem to have found a new civilization in Sodomy. They probably believe that the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed either because they were not clever enough or they had no nuclear power with which to fight God. “America is currently the champion of modern civilization.
Whatever emerges from America is perceived as a trend of civilization with which the rest of the world must keep pace. On June 27, 2015, America’s Supreme Court gave a split judgment of 5 to 4 that shocked the entire world to the marrow.
The judgment officially granted the citizens of that country the legal right to practice sodomy throughout the country in what is now seen as a token of civilization… “With the current institutionalization backed up by government authority, it is characteristic of the West to want to impose any newly invented idea by them considered as civilization on others.
This is where President Muhammadu Buhari has to be very careful when he travels to the United States of America”. Then in an interview published by the Sunday Sun, first republic Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amechi went straight to the heart of the matter. He said: “Now, if the government of Nigeria for anything succumbs to the blackm ail of the Western world to gay marriage, then it is the greatest betrayal of Africa.
It is the greatest act of betrayal for Africa. It is the greatest act of attack on the fundamental being of Africa and the religions of Africa, both the Christian religion of Africa, and the Islamic religion of Africa. It is an abomination to have man to man marriage, or woman to woman marriage.
So if the Nigerian government for anything succumbs to the blackmail of the decaying Western world, then it is the greatest betrayal of Africa. I do hope that such a thing will never, ever cross anybody’s mind.