The Royal Embassy of the Netherlands in Nigeria has confirmed the receipt of applications for asylum by some Nigerians claiming to be homosexuals who want to leave the country for fear of persecution following President Goodluck Jonathan’s signing into law of the anti- same sex marriage bill.
The embassy however said it lacks the power to grant asylum to applicants or process their applications.
In an email to Thisday, the embassy wrote; “The embassy has received a small number of applications for asylum by Nigerians. It is not possible to apply for asylum at the embassy. We inform the applicants likewise but we do not register the number of applications made.
“At this stage, it is not possible to make predictions. That would be speculation. However, when people become increasingly aware that it is not possible to apply for asylum at the embassy, one could expect a decrease. The embassy is not involved in the asylum process, neither in the application nor in the determination of the authenticity of claims.”
A diplomat at the Canadian High Commission also told Thisday that although there had been no significant increase in visa applications to Canada in recent times, asylum seekers could only obtain such privileges in Ottawa, on arrival in Canada.
“We cannot grant asylum to anyone here on any grounds, that is the prerogative of Ottawa. Such a Nigerian must have already satisfied regular visa requirements and must have travelled to Canada, he or she as the case may be, can now apply to stay back for fear of persecution upon return to Nigerian.
“But there would be investigations to ascertain if the person is gay and not just making claims,” the diplomat said.