ABUJA, Nigeria — Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister on Saturday declared that the West is trying to “impose” gay rights on the country.
During a session with representatives of the international community in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, Olugbenga Ashiru said “foreign” diplomats should not try and impose “gay” values that are “not part” of Nigeria’s “culture.”
Ashiru accused the international community of hypocrisy and said Nigeria would not legalize LGBT rights.
“This issue must be understood because we have been under pressure about this issue of gay rights,” he said. “It is not part of our own culture. It needs to evolve. Let us get to that stage of understanding that two men can marry, then we will get to the bridge and cross it.”
Ashiru said that foreign diplomats should educate their various governments that they cannot “impose values that are not part of our culture on us.”
Homosexuality is illegal in the federal system of Nigeria and is punished in different states in varying degrees of severity.
In May, lawmakers in Nigeria passed a bill banning same-sex marriage and outlawing anyone from forming organizations supporting gay rights, setting prison terms of up to 14 years for offenders. Witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars.
The bill is due to be signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan shortly.
Adebisi Alimi, a Nigerian LGBT rights advocate, told LGBTQ Nation the attack on the West is a “pure double standard.”
“It pure hypocrisy that Nigeria’s government, on the one hand, begs for international aid, and the other, turns around to demonize the West for ‘imposing,'” he said. ““Nigeria has signed up to many international charters to protect human rights, so the international community simply calls the country to adhere and respect the right to freedom of life, association and opinion.”