Nigerian YouTuber continues protest against anti-gay law

A  Nigerian YouTuber Victor Emmanuel has continued his protest against anti-gay law in Nigeria. He is protesting alone at the National Assembly (NASS), embarking on a hunger strike which has now entered the second day.   

Emmanuel, who runs the YouTube channel ‘For Fags Sake!,’ began the protest and hunger strike on Saturday, March 20, at NASS over what he termed the continued criminalisation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and queers (LGBTQs) in Nigeria.

He said he would not end the protest until the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act (SSMPA) passed in 2014 by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan was repealed.

The YouTuber, in a video shared on his official Twitter handle, said he would not leave until his body either gave up or the law be repealed.

Announcing the protest at NASS in a video that has now garnered more hundred thousand views, Emmanuel said, “I am at the National Assembly and I’m here to demand LGBTQ+ freedom and liberation!”

He also compared the punishment meted out for being gay to the same punishment meted out to rapists.

In an earlier tweet, he had said the Nigerian government should repeal the SSMPA- a law he said criminalised the lives and existence of LGBTQ+ Nigerian citizens.

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“Every other day, Nigerians, armed with state-facilitated homophobia, go out of their way to harm, harass, and assault LGBT well-meaning citizens of this country,” he said.

“I am not asking anyone to join me physically in protest, but if you’re queer, an ally, or just a human being who isn’t wicked enough to actually think we deserve 14-years imprisonment for just existing, then I ask you to join me on this journey and send this message to the government: Repeal the SSMPA.”

Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act

Former President Goodluck Jonathan had, in 2014, signed the Act criminalising same-sex relationships in Nigeria.

The Act, which contains penalties of up to 14 years in prison and bans gay marriage, same-sex ‘amorous relationships’ and membership of gay rights groups, was passed by the National Assembly in 2013.

The bill was signed despite pressure from Western governments who urged the then administration of Jonathan to respect gay and lesbian rights by not signing it into law.






     

     

    Human Rights Watch, in a 2015 report on the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill (SSMPA), said the law was discriminatory and contravened basic tenets of the Nigerian Constitution, including respect for dignity and prohibition of torture which went against several regional and international human rights treaties which Nigeria ratified, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    It also said the law had become a tool being used by some police officers and members of the public to legitimise multiple human rights violations perpetrated against LGBT people.

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    But a Christian pastor Raphael Nwaenigwe said  LGBTQ+ was strange to Nigeria’s culture and beliefs.

    “No religion tolerates that in Nigeria,” he said.  “Nigeria’s multifarious culture also does not accommodate that. So, even if you legitimise it in Nigeria, there will be resistance at local levels,” he further said.

    Olayinka works with The ICIR as the Social Media Manager, Reporter and Fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected]. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @BelloYinka72

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