The 14 years imprisonment verdict sounds like a featherweight sentence when compared to the death by stoning verdict placed on homosexual relationships in Nigeria.
From caning of one hundred lashes to stoning to death, homosexuals are mostly hiding and engage in secret relationships. Most of the time, some go as far as getting married to the opposite gender to hide their true sexuality from society.
In 1901 under the northern and southern protectorate of Nigeria, homosexuality was signed into law as illegal and has remained so ever since. In 2014, Former President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill criminalizing same-sex marriage in Nigeria, despite pressure from the western government to protect the rights of homosexuals in the country.
Although gay rights are being preserved in western countries, Nigeria has seen those who fall into this category as criminals who deserve to be punished.
The disdain towards this group is seen in the public humiliation of people who are perceived to be gay without any proof. People are constantly reminded to engage in more activities that are peculiar to their gender in order to fit the narrative of straight individuals. Jungle justice is the order of the day.
Gay couples who are unfortunate enough to be caught in this act would tell the tale so well if they’re fortunate enough to survive.
The aggression and the utmost disgust of the Nigerian people towards gay couples are repulsive and utterly against the fundamental human right. Their lives are threatened and are most times they are vulnerable to physical violence if they are figured out.
This is seen from the public hate towards”Bobrisky” a Nigerian cross-dressed who likes to be addressed with the pronoun ”her”.
The main reason for this ill-treatment is ” it’s against our culture and religion” this is laughable because they’re ancient African art which indicates that homosexuality has been part of the culture for ages.
The transformation from boyhood to adulthood in some culture required same-sex sexual activities. In Yoruba, the word ”adofuro” is used to describe someone who practices same-sex intercourse and the Hausa use the word ”yan daudu” to describe men who are wives to men.
Although the Yoruba word has to do with behaviour and the Hausa word, identity. It shows that these people have been part of our culture.
In the words of former United States Barack Obama “When you start treating people differently not because of any harm they are doing to anybody, but because they are different, that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode.”
A 2017 survey by NOI Polls compared attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Nigeria against a 2015 poll.
It found a 7 per cent increase in acceptance of LGBT people, and a 9 percent raise to 39 percent of those surveyed who think that LGBT people should be allowed equal access to public services such as healthcare, education and housing.
Although there is a little increase in the acceptance of the LGBT community in Nigeria, the majority of the population would persecute them at the slightest chance and they have the law on their side. A 33-year-old man, who spoke to the Thomson Reuters Foundation and asked not to be named, described his experience on a night out in Lagos, when he and his male partner were caught cuddling in their car by the police.
“They stripped us naked and made us lie on the floor, stamping on my back, my butt, my head, with their boots,” said the man.
As a nation, Nigerians need to channel their anger towards these people to criminal activities which affect the lives of fellow countrymen and the nation at large. Political thugs and corruption are rampant in our government which has led to poor economic growth and development. The queer community is really not our problem.