Benue state governor is very much concerned about gay activities in his state. In Samuel Ortom’s opinion, there are at least 400 gays in Benue state, whose activities must be prosecuted.
According to the recent estimates of Grace Ashi Wende, the executive secretary of Benue state Aids control agency, 0.009 % of Benue population are gay. It means that there are about 400 gay people among 4,500,000 Benue state inhabitants.
The Governor of Benue state Samuel Ortom has expressed his deep concern on that issue, saying that no gay activities in the state would be tolerated. Samuel Ortom has made this announcement while meeting with the Prelate of the Anglican Communion of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh in Makurdi.
Ortom has told that gay lifestyle is promoted by the Western world and it is alien to the African customs and the church.
He has also assured the public that he is ready to fight corruption in the state with the same willingness he is ready to fight gay activities.
Earlier the Prelate of the Anglican Communion appealed the people of all faiths in Nigeria to unite in the fight against gay culture, appealing to the Benue governor to do everything possible to help in the church’s struggle against gay marriages in Nigeria.
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh is among many people in Africa who strongly oppose to gay people. Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of Oyo, Nigeria, earlier compared gays with drug addicts and terrorists, saying that despite “gay people have a right to be accepted as human beings,” nevertheless, “there is a distinguishing factor between human rights and human behaviour. I don’t have to accept homosexual behaviour, just like I don’t have to accept drug addition, robbery, and terrorism.”
In a bid to gain popular support ahead of presidential election the then-President Goodluck Jonathan toughened Nigerian anti-gay law, which says that “persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison. Any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison.”
According to UNAIDS estimates, Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world. An estimated 3.4 million Nigerians or around 4 % of the general population, are living with HIV, and UNAIDS argues that tough anti-gay laws undermine initiatives to fight the disease. “The provisions of the law could lead to increased homophobia, discrimination, denial of HIV services and violence based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity,” UNAIDS representatives told the press. “It could also be used against organizations working to provide HIV prevention and treatment services to LGBT people.”
Besides Nigeria, one of the most harsh anti-gay laws were adopted in Uganda in 2014.
Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, signing the bill that made homosexual activity punishable by life in prison, told the press that “gays are disgusting“.
President Muhammadu Buhari, has been urged to take a cue from the United State and cancel the same sex marriage prohibition Act of 2014.
This comes days after the Supreme Court of the United States of America finally legalised same sex marriage throughout the whole country.
In a report on Sahara Reporters, specifically aimed to attack the “Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act of 2014”, leading human rights organisations, PEN America and PEN Nigeria urged President Buhari to scrap the law as it encourages evictions, mob attacks, police torture, and public whippings against gays.
The recent opinion poll has shown the shift in attitude towards gay people and same sex marriages in Nigeria. According to that poll, Nigerians have become more gay than they used to be five years ago – or at least more gay-friendly.