More than 60 members of the European Parliament representing all major parties called on Nigeria's government April 19 to withdraw legislation that will criminalize gay relationships and same-sex marriage, and ban gay organizations and activism.
The measure has been approved by the Federal Executive Council and awaits action by the National Assembly. It calls for five years' imprisonment for anyone who 'goes through the ceremony of marriage with a person of the same sex,' 'performs, witnesses, aids or abets the ceremony of same sex marriage' or 'is involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations.' It also criminalizes public displays of a 'same-sex amorous relationship' and bans gay adoption.
'The proposed law ... is an intolerable breach of international law,' said Green Euro-MP Caroline Lucas of England. 'It will breach the freedom of expression, assembly, association and conscience protected by U.N. and African Union human rights treaties.'
The U.S. State Department also has denounced the bill, saying it 'would restrict or prohibit citizens from assembling, organizing, holding events or rallies, and participating in ceremonies of religious union, based upon sexual orientation and gender identity.'
Gay sex is already illegal nationwide in Nigeria—and in several northern states ruled by Islamic Sharia law, it is punishable with stoning. Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation, with 130 million residents.
— Rex Wockner