The Project for Human Development, PHD, a Civil Society Organisation, on Sunday urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to listen to the U.S. government on issues of gay rights, so as to protect the laws and values of Nigeria.
The call was made at a rally in Lagos, against the backdrop of Mr. Buhari’s visit to the US on Monday.
The theme of the rally was, “Gay Marriage: Obama, Please Leave Nigeria Alone”.
Mr. Buhari will on Monday, July 20, be at Washington DC on a four-day official visit, during which he will hold talks with President Barack Obama and other senior officials of the United States government.
Jerry Okwuosa, Director-General of PHD, said that the rally was to hint Mr. Buhari on the fears by Nigerians that Mr. Obama might ask him to decriminalise “the Same Sex Prohibition Law of Nigeria.”
According to him, this is a way for the U.S. to promote gay rights, which is a part of American foreign policy.
“The U.S. is now the major exporter of gay rights in the world. It has recently pressurised Uganda for a reverse of its anti-gay law.
“Under the influence of the U.S., Mozambique has recently decriminalized its anti-gay law. At the moment, U.S. is putting pressure on Kenya to legalize gay Marriage.
“President Obama is meeting with President Buhari tomorrow to discuss issues which include security, economy, Ebola and gay marriage legalisation in Nigeria.
“Fear is being entertained that Obama might trade off US assistance to President Buhari’s government with shooting down Goodluck Jonathan’s anti-gay law.
”We are however, urging President Buhari to reject such a trade-off, ” he said.
Also speaking, Sonnie Ekwowusi, a director of PHD, noted that the only way to avoid chaos in any society was for the legislature to make laws in accordance with the values and aspirations of the people.
According to him, homosexuality is not Nigeria culture; it is a taboo or abomination.
“Homosexuality is not our culture. Every society has its own values and should grow with those values. Nigeria has her own values and we must stick to our values and tradition.
”Laws are made in consonant with the values of the people. Every country is interested in protecting what it holds dear.
“Our view is that homosexuality is an acquired habit that ought to be eradicated and not be transformed into an acceptable human conduct by law (in Nigeria).
“Our recommendation with regard to same sex marriage is absolute prohibition,” Mr. Ekwowusi said.
It would be recalled that the U.S Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, stated that America would continue to pressurise Nigeria until it legalises same sex marriage.
She made this known on Monday July 13 during a live-web chat with journalists in Washington.
Sunday’s peaceful rally featured placards with inscriptions such as- ‘Obama, Please leave Nigeria Alone’; ‘Gay Marriage should Remain Illegal in Nigeria’; ‘Obama is Not God’; ‘Gay Marriage, Buhari Don’t Listen to Obama’.
The protesters, numbering about 50, and including lawyers and youth leaders of both sexes, marched from the Tafawa Balewa Square, through Lagos City Hall, to the MUSON Centre.