LEADING Nigerian newspaper, the Guardian, today carries a letter from the UK gay charity, The Pink Triangle Trust, regarding the country’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
Under the heading, Promoting citizens’ universal human rights, the letter reads:
The international community and human rights activists are urging Nigeria to reconsider the bill prohibiting same-sex marriage. But Senate President, David Mark has maintained that the bill would be passed.
An overwhelming number of religious and socio-cultural groups across Nigeria have been unequivocal in their opposition to same-sex marriage, which some foreign countries are openly urging Nigeria to accept.
Such opponents include Christian denominations as well as Muslim groups all of which have voiced their rejection of the pressure on Nigeria by some sections of the international community. Among them is the Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh who has repeatedly opposed the move, saying same-sex marriage is not biblical and therefore unacceptable.
However, Nigerian Humanist human rights activist, Leo Igwe, who is a supporter of the UK gay Humanist Charity the Pink Triangle Trust, said: ‘The statements made by David Mark that the ban on same sex marriage was irrevocable are reprehensible. They are a clear demonstration of homophobia and show a lack of appreciation of the humane moral values of the contemporary world.
Instead of supporting the ban on same sex marriage, the Senate and the Government of Nigeria as a whole should make a commitment to promoting and protecting the universal human rights of everyone, whatever their race, ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief, even when such commitment conflicts with the teachings of religion.’
It’s not only gay marriage that Okoh opposes. Last year he was incensed by suggestions from some quarters that Nigerian churches ought to pay taxes.
He claimed that churches in the country:
Were contributing immensely to the growth of the economy through their programmes and activities by engaging many unemployed youths.
He added that:
It is ridiculous for anyone to suggest that churches should be mandated to pay taxes to government.
It is unfortunate to hear that someone will suggest that churches should start paying taxes to government. Considering what churches are doing for the country, I want to say that government should instead fund some of our activities and give some kind of funds to churches.