Opinion: Nigerian gays: Victims of ‘scapegoatism’
by Joseph Sewedo Akoro
Nigerian oil is a curse in disguise for promoter of LGBT rights. I say this because countries like the U.S. and France will not sacrifice the Nigerian oil for homosexual issues.
Nigeria homosexuals are unfortunately victims of ‘scapegoatism’ in their own country. The legislators who have suffered lot of bashing on many grounds- relating from issues of Oil (fuel subsidy), corruption, domestic terrorism (Boko Haram) and other important national issues-sought to appease its very religious masses with the passing of same-sex marriage prohibition bill into its final reading.
Quite interestingly, it is only on issues boarding around religion and morals the Nigerian legislators unanimously agree. Quite disappointing, the Nigerian masses- most of who are gullible to religious bigotry- fall into the political trap of the legislators to buy my confidence. Nigerian politicians are smart sha!
It is not surprising that the members of House of representative recently remembered that there is a pending bill in the house relating to same-sex marriages. The Bill has been idle for about 11 months since the bill was passed by their counterpart- the Senate.
The recent move of the house happened just as I have thought. I knew that 2015 was a long time for the bill to stay idle. I knew that luck would run out on this bill contrary to what happened in 2007 and 2011 respectively. Unfortunately, this Bill arrived at the National assembly much earlier than it used to be. I guess the U.S. fundamentalists are responding to the recommendations of the lesson learned from the previous years.
Having worked with a Nigeria LGBT human rights organization, I am sick of enunciating the implication of the bill to public health, human rights promotion and protection, implementation of Nigerian foreign policy and the adverse implication on the Nigeria economy- re- International business.
In my dissertation paper- qualifying me for a degree in Politics and International relations, I had presented the implication of human rights violations in Nigeria on the implementation of its foreign policy. My supervisor promised to publish it in an international journal- I wait to see that happen and will definitely share.
Unfortunately, Nigeria is totally different from other African countries where intervention of the international community is very profitable. Nigerian oil is a curse in disguise for promoter of LGBT rights. I say this because countries like the U.S. and France will not sacrifice the Nigerian Oil for homosexual issues. Also giving that this is also a reality they are dealing with in their respectively countries. While the U.S. foreign policy include the promotion of human rights worldwide, they also have the national interest to improve it national wealth.
This dilemma has affected the level of interference of diplomats on this issue. In fact, I am beginning to wonder how positive the intervention of the international community would be. I know I am being pessimistic here but I’d rather be critical and realistic. My observation of the Nigerian culture is that we react irrationally and aggressively to antagonism and criticism. So keyword is: discreet diplomacy!
Therefore, what might be useful to learn from this observation is to engage with local powers in the dealing of the anti-gay bill. I think that the Nigerian government will react more positively to internal antagonism than external ones. There are impressive powers in the country that are able to speak out on the bill.
I wish popular human rights lawyers who have raised their voices against injustice and human rights violations in the country will see the same-sex prohibition bill as a human rights issue and be able to speak up against it- helping the minority LGBT Nigerians get free from ‘scapegoatism’.
Joseph Sewedo Akoro is an independent consultant. He blogs at www.sewedoakoro.blogspot.com.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.