Nigeria: call for end of LGBT (lesbians gays bisexuals and transexuals) discrimination on the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia
Wed, May 20, 2009
NIGERIA 18 May 2009: Two non-governmental organisations in Lagos urged the three tiers of government to stop discriminating against homosexuals, lesbians and gay people. Officials of The Independent Project for Equal Rights (TIPER) and The International Centre for Sexual Reproductive Rights (INCRESE) made the appeal at a
news briefing. They explained that the briefing was part of their preparation for Sunday’s celebration of the annual International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). They regretted that discrimination on the basis of age, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity had become a major concern for human rights organisations in Nigeria. Mrs Dorothy Aken Ova, Executive Director of INCRESE urged the protection of the fundamental rights of homosexuals and lesbians. She also urged the enlightenment of Nigerians to enable them to realise that gays had a right to life. “Research findings have shown that four per cent of the world population is gay and should be recognised by government through adequate representation, good education and acceess to the basic necessities of life. These people, though in the minority, did not create themselves. They should, therefore, enjoy the right to live their lives. The public must learn to respect them for who they are because if we begin to feel bad for one another, we will be calling for the destruction of some people, thus inviting genocide” she said.
Ova noted that homosexuals, lesbians and the gay formed part of the electorate that voted for the various governments, charging them to take care of them. She urged the Federal Government to domesticate the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Mr Joseph Akoro, an Executive Director of TIPER, also urged the Federal Government to consider its commitment to the protection of all Nigerians from all forms of discrimination. He said the NGOs were collaborating to create awareness about the existence of gays in the country. Mr Victor Ogbodo, a member of the NGO, said the society would benefit more from accepting them. “If they are accepted by the public for what they are, there will be less marital problems because members of the opposite sex will have known before getting married to them. But if the society fails to accept them now and the issue begins to rear its head after marriage, we may only just be postponing the evil day,” he said.
Ogbodo charged the government to protect the rights of all its citizens since the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians were enshrined in Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution. He said that the groups were not considering sponsoring any bill at the National Assembly on the issue for now, “but we will begin to kick against any further restriction on our rights. “In future, should the need arise for us to sponsor a bill on their behalf, we will surely do so” he added.