Sexual orientation is quite a issuer for Nigerians, in Nigeria you must be straight. More so, where capital punishment awaits you in Northern Nigeria if you are non conformist in our standard sexual orientation; its 14 years imprisonment in the south and there are some who believes that is a slap on the wrist. Apart from being nabbed by the long arm of the law, the social approbation is unbearable — seeing a guy acting like a girl in his conduct causes a special kind of disgust for us. Many people think homosexuals should be killed extra-legally; the view is one i do not cheer but who can blame them. 2 Timothy 2:15 is enlightening:
“and thou from a child thou has learnt the holy scriptures which is able to make you wise unto salvation”
Culturally and religiously, we have been admonished to hate the act as it is unnatural and anti – God little wonder medieval Europe held the view too.
The issues however to be taken up here is not with the general populace (their audience alone is satisfactory), but with the actual and intending activist who oil the wheels of activism against every form of human right violation; it is with those who will not stop until every form of social inequality and injustice cease around the country.
The throbbing question desperate for answer is: the principles that guide one human right movement, should it not be applicable to all human right movement? Or does an agitation from one human right cause differ in logic to the other? To prima facie deny its similarity might not be an unbiased view.
One of the leading reasons for the grant of fundamental human rights is the law recognises that some rights are so rooted in the base of human existence that the state may not deny a person of such rights. Our constitution recognises it and it is graciously entrenched in chapter 4 of the CFRN. On this backdrop do many human right activist movements rely.
MLK agitated for civil rights for the African Americans predominantly but in addition human rights, he said:
“It is necessary for us to realize that we have moved from the era of civil rights to the era of human rights. When you deal with human rights you are not dealing with something clearly defined in the constitution. They are right that are clearly defined by the mandates of a humanitarian concern”
The UNITED NATION HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL recognise certain thematic human right issue such as freedom of association and assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of belief and religion, women right, right of racial and ethnic minorities and the LGBT rights based on the same principle that human beings are entitled to certain rights just because they are human beings.
In Nigeria, every right recognised by the UNITED NATION HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL has also been recognised and entrenched in our law even an erstwhile culturally male chauvinistic society have put aside its chauvinism and recognised female rights. However, the same cannot be said for the LGBT rights. We have seen the issues raised in their favour and we have responded with blind hate. In Nigeria, discrimination based on sexual orientation is the norm, we cannot stand them, this new order is completely unacceptable, we would rather hold close to our chest our cultural and religious values. Like every typical Nigerian, my view is hardly different. It is nevertheless observed that this is double standard; the term can hardly be defined any better.
Some liberals might ask the principles that caused a male chauvinistic society to turn from its back placement of women to turn to a new order, can it not turn us from one more cultural position? The next response might be a reference to the spiritual books and why it wont let them be so liberal. This response may be correct in a society where purported adherence to religious tenets is the norm, but the question is, isn’t God able to fight for himself? And since when does the state seek out scriptural laws and attach punishment to its offenders more so when the act does not affect the society adversely. These are private acts and done in comfort of closed doors what harm could they possibly do to the state?
One argument which might yet hold sway in the attachment of punishment to any non heterosexual relations is that the legislature is an expression of the will of the people and the will should reflect in their laws since the country runs a representative government. The moral reprehension homosexuality has received is what has translated into law — this is reasonable and rightly so because being a private act it would be difficult to catch offenders, so the essence might just be to blot it out of sight, which is what the people really want.
It must however be stated that if equality is equity, an advocate for one human and people’s right should not be a violator of another — this is nothing short of hypocrisy and double standard. Recourse to the holy book is in order here, its words are wisdom. JAMES 2:10:
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point he is guilty of all.”
Except there are logical reasons why the LGBT rights should not be defined as human and people’s right, the support for its violation leaves a chink in the armour of human right justice movement. This does not do well for human right movement in Nigeria which is greatly needed as we leave in a society where respect for human right is low and government have a tendency of brazenly abusing it. The sooner this chink is mended by some justification of some sort, the better for activism; because the justification of culture and religion just won’t do. What remains as a throbbing core is how long the nations against LGBT RIGHTS can get it ineffective or inexistent come 2040. If the government keeps criticizing this act with supposed good faith with knitted ethical apparels, it should come as no shocker when these nations loose grip of their principles — won’t one be myopic to think Nigeria will forever be engaging in hikes in the age of faith? Maybe we do not need LGBT rights, but can our government gives us tenable ratios other than OUR MORAL NORMS SAY NO? If the act does not affect the society any less, can freedom of bed partners not be granted these persons. I am not against 14 yr jail term but can it not be perceived that the government can do better than pattering moral precepts? If Nigeria must leave third world, then it most likely needs support from first world countries — the first world countries cuddles with much love, the LGBT rights (stale news). Morality as a reason is seemingly infinitesimal an issue if the anti-gay fight must have dominance, if first world nations would come to our aid upon a full blown reception of the LGBT rights, how much can we fight it? One thing happens when you cling to a single reasoning, when it crashes, it crashes.