As President Muhammadu Buhari meets his United States counterpart, Barack Obama on Monday in Washington DC, Nigeria’s major religious bodies: the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN and Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, have asked the US government to leave the country alone on the same-sex marriage saga.
They told President Obama to refrain from meddling in issues that affect Nigeria and other African countries, especially the controversial gay marriage because they are moral and independent societies.
CAN and JNI reactions was prompted by the recent threat by the Obama administration to compel Nigeria to accept gay marriage.
Nigerian Pilot had exclusively reported on Tuesday that Obama had through the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda same=sexThomas-Greenfield, said that his administration would continue to pressure Nigeria until it legalises same-sex marriage.
Thomas-Greenfield had in a live-web chat with journalists in Washington DC, said the US had adopted the protection of the rights of same-sex people as part of its foreign policies, vowing that Washington would continue to mount and sustain pressure on Nigeria and other countries to reverse their laws against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender, LGBT community.
She said: “As a government, it is one of the highest priorities and strongest values that discrimination against anyone based on their sexual orientation and gender identity is
wrong. We believe human rights should be available to everybody.
“As a policy, we will continue to press the government of Nigeria, as well as other governments who have provided legislation that discriminate against the LGBT community.”
Thomas-Greenfield, who did not agree that pressuring Nigeria to reverse the anti-gay law amounted to interference, said the country and Uganda have the hardest legislation on the gay community.
She said: “This is very much a work in progress, but I think you will agree with me that the law in Nigeria really went far in discriminating against this community but also people who associate with them. So, we will continue to press the government, to press the legislature to change these laws and provide human rights for all Nigerian people regardless of their sexual orientation.”
In condemning the US threat, CAN Director of Issues, Elder Sunday Oibeh, said that whoever accepts to practice same-sex marriage would be checked by both Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.
CAN further declared that any politician who because of political connections, accept or compromise with the American government on gay marriage, are acting alone as Nigerians would never have anything to do with it.
It said: “Whatever they (Americans) think they are today, it is our wealth that their forefathers stole from here that they used in developing their country. So, they should stop dictating to us what to do and what not to do.”
“If President Obama is really serious about the issue of gay marriage, he should divorce his wife and marry a man. He should also compel his two daughters to marry women. They should leave us alone,” Oibeh said.
Similarly, JNI yesterday asked the US to mind its business and stop interfering in Nigeria’s core values, particularly on same-sex marriage.
In an exclusive interview with Nigerian Pilot, the Secretary-General of JNI, Dr. Khalid Aliyu Abubakar, said it is not proper for the US to interfere in the affairs of the nation, particularly as it has to do with the core values of the country which is peculiar to itself.
According to him, “it will be really surprising for the US to use the invitation of President Buhari to hammer on this issue which rests on our country’s core value. It is rather absurd because Nigeria is a country that had its independence, having its peculiar values which it upholds and having an embodiment upon which the country believes and its core value in morality.
“I was thinking that the visit would rest squarely on bilateral issues of interest between Nigeria and the US as it relates to the economy and security among other issues. In fact, the issue of core value of the country is something that is peculiar to Nigeria. I don’t think it is right to ask somebody to forsake what he cherishes to take what other person cherishes because people are different. We have different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs and core values. I think it is absurd and unfortunate if this is part of why President Buhari is being invited over.
“The wording of the US Assistant that they will compel and mount pressure on Nigeria sounds like giving a command that ‘go and do this’. I think the fundamental principles of the integrity of countries have really passed this level,” he said.
JNI however said it doubts if Buhari would succumb to the pressure and forsake the core values of Nigeria.
“And I don’t think Buhari can just on his own forsake the cherished core values that Nigerians uphold as it relates to the issue of morality just on his own without taking cognisance of what Nigerians believe and uphold.
“Nigeria is not in a tight corner and Nigerians should not fear. Buhari represents this country and this nation has vehemently rejected the same-sex marriage, gay, homosexualism and lesbianism. So, Buhari cannot act contrary to the interest of Nigeria. The former President, Goodluck Jonathan acted in the interest of the Nigerian people, so this is what we expect President Buhari to uphold.
“Of course, it is interference in the affairs of Nigeria. And Nigeria is a sovereign nation and it cannot forsake what it upholds. For instance, where same-sexes marry each other, Nigeria cannot pressure or ask US to stop it, simply because that is what it believes and wants. So Nigeria wants the other way round, why don’t they leave us with what we believe in?
“In essence, what I’m saying is that they should leave Nigeria alone on the issue of this value. Different nations have different values, so let the people be left alone with what they cherish,” Abubakar stated.