Nigerian police round up 100s of gays after everything gay is banned

A horrific development in Nigeria, as police round up 168 “suspected” gays.

According to human rights activists, cited by the AP, the police obtained a list of suspected gays by torturing someone.

Tell me again why we’re giving this country one dime?

The big news from Nigeria was yesterday was the signing into law of new legislation banning pretty much everything gay, including support for gays.  All of it will get your ten years in prison.

But it’s far worse than that.  Here’s a copy of a portion of the law Nigeria’s president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan signed:


Here it is written out:

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of Nigeria (Credit: World Economic Forum)

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of Nigeria (Credit: World Economic Forum)

“Any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisation, or directly or indirectly makes public show of same sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment. A person or group of persons who administers, witnesses, abets or aids the solemnization of a same sex marriage or civil union, or supports the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organisations, processions or meetings in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.”

Did you catch that last part?  Simply “supporting” gay clubs, societies, organizations, or “meetings” will get you ten years in prison.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has weighed in, as has Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.


And that’s all well and good, but at this point it just feels like words.  Far too many backwards African governments have launched a human rights pogrom on gay and trans people in their countries, aided and abetted by American religious right leaders, and inspired by the draconian crackdown in Russia.  Civilized countries need to do far more than just issue strong statements.

Like what?  Foreign aid.  Nigeria gets a good amount, depending on the country, and it’s aid that’s routinely stolen by government leaders.  Don’t tell me that those leaders wouldn’t be hurt by cutting it back.  Now, some worry that we hurt the Nigerian people by cutting aid (or cutting trade).  And yes, we do.  And we hurt the Russian people by limiting trade to the Soviet Union, and we hurt South Africans during apartheid.  Is the systematic governmental oppression of gays somehow different than oppression based on race or religion/ethnicity?

And what’s more, there are lots of poor countries that need our aid.  Yes, Nigerians would lose out.  But some other poor would gain.  Which means poor people in those countries, who aren’t being helped now by foreign aid, would be helped if we shifted our aid to those countries.  So it’s not clear at all that we’d be helping any fewer poor people if we shifted our aid away from Nigeria.

Nigeria is a country in which “Christians” kill children as “witches,” and where Anglican church leaders have called gay marriage a “Holocaust.”  Nigeria, by some reports, is one of the top 10 recipients of US aid.  I think we could find a better just-as-needy country to give our millions.

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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52 Responses to “Nigerian police round up 100s of gays after everything gay is banned”

  1. AfricanandProud says:

    Wow, the comments here are just pathetic. I’m an African activist from one of the many countries across the continent where homosexuality is illegal. I can honestly say, from my experience and that of my colleagues, the “west” is just as guilty of purporting gay backclash as these cultural purists. It does not help our cause when you privileged western folks who have NEVER been to Africa take the role of steering the ‘gay agenda’ in Africa. As gay Africans, we constantly have to assert our Africanness because the only voice that is anything pro-gay is coming from the west. This is horrible since our affiliation with the ‘west’ is used as a tool to discredit our qualms by grouping us with the ‘outsiders’.

    And again, the same mistakes that elite gays made in the west are being globalized at lightning speed. If you are gay in Africa, your means of survival is a close knit ‘family’ of other LGBTs or a cunning ability to code switch into the mainstream culture. This backlash of anti gay legislation has not been prompted by us gay africans, it has been prompted by our governments paranoia of ‘outsiders’ coming to tell us what to do. it’s rather silly but YOU have to try to understand this ordeal with compassion if we hope to make progress.

    Simply blaming it on the ‘backwardness’ of Africa is racist and although religion and culture play a big role, we have also seen societies with a strong religious culture embracing homosexuality. The truth is, extreme poverty is a catalyst for discrimination. The difference between Uganda and South Africa is not culture perse, but wealth Let’s identify the ‘enemy’ but a rational strategy LEAD by gay Africans on the ground is much needed. You don’t have to speak for me because you are not helping our cause.

    R.I.P Mbede & Kato

  2. bandanajack says:

    Saudi Arabia, Chad and Nigeria were elected by the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday to serve a two-year term on the U.N. Security Council as human rights groups called for all three countries to improve their records.

    so much for the UN’s concern over nigeria’s human rights violations…

  3. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I have some questions for you:

    1) What do you mean by “so called money”? Do you think we use Monopoly money?

    2) If Nigeria doesn’t need our money, why do they take it?

    3) Why are you commenting on a blog called Americablog?

    4) You said 99% of Nigerians do not want same sex marriage. Can you supply a link to the poll you used for this information? Could you also supply a link to the information that says Nigerians are some of the most educated and intelligent people in the world? (The rate of secondary school attendance is 32% for males and 27% for females in Nigeria.)

    5) Is Nigeria a theocracy?

    6) How is homosexuality a threat to human existence?

  4. Kelechi says:

    Nigerians have the right to decide what they want and i do believe that they do not need a dime of your so called money. Nigeria is a country overflowing with oil and natural gas and they are blessed with hundreds of other mineral resources and have some of the most educated and intelligent people in the world. Why is Polygamy not accepted in the West? Have the people of Nigeria ever asked you all to accept Polygamy? 99% of Nigerians do not want same sex marriage and we just have to respect that. Homosexuality is not in line with the bible teachings neither do the koran support it. Nigerians see homosexuality as a threat to human existence and the earlier people in the west get this into their thick head, the better for them.

  5. Shawn Bruffett says:

    This is a Documentay Titled “The Worst Place In the World to Be Gay”

    I know this Isn’t about Nigeria, but this was filmed 3 years ago by The BBC, so It isn’t the American News trying to Twist Anything. Sadly the New Anti Gay Laws in Nigeria are Proof that the Hate Continues to be Spread by the Religious Reich.

  6. Shawn Bruffett says:

    You can blame these Ignorant, Bigoted, Homophobic, Televangelist Preachers that Go to Africa “To Spread God’s Word” They go over there and Spew their Hate and Derision to the Simple Uneducated Masses (Kind of like they do Here in America) and the people Believe Everything they say. (Because why would a “Man of God” do anything wrong?) It’s Disgusting. The BBC did a Documentary about it a few years ago. Something Needs to Be Done. The U.N. and Civilized Countries Need to Stand Up and Say this Is Wrong. We Need to Protect the Civil Rights of All People Around the World.

  7. BeccaM says:

    That’s how I feel about it, too. Francis is easily, so far, the best Pope I’ve seen in my 50 year lifetime.

    But that’s not saying much and it’s a rather low bar to have met.

  8. BeccaM says:

    Now you’re just lying. We can appreciate the fact you want to defend Nigeria and not to believe they could do these horrible things.

    But they have. And they are continuing to do so.

    And they’re doing it for reasons which are based entirely on lies, hatred, and ignorance. Being gay is not a choice. It is not a moral abomination. It is simply something about 10% of the human race simply IS.

    And stop it already with conflating polygamy with being gay. They’re not the same things. Moreover, people can actually come together and live in big families if they want to — and will not be arrested for it. True, they won’t receive full civil recognition for a polygamous family arrangement, but nobody is going to break down their doors and arrest them for having too many unrelated adults living together.

    Unlike in Nigeria. Where now a person can and will be arrested simply for being gay. Never mind actually living with someone they love and cherish. And the fact these arrests can and are happening is horrible.

    Stop excusing bigotry and intolerance. You will not find sympathetic ears here, not when what you’re excusing is hate.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Notice how in America, we no longer interpret the Bible literally in most cases, as it contains a lot of outdated laws. But most Christians are literal when it comes to things that aren’t accepted/fully legal yet. Homosexuality, for example. It’s not Christianity’s fault – it’s their own opinion. You don’t see them adhering to any of the other bizarre, excessively strict rules.

    In African countries where there’s no stable government, they also can’t blame the Bible. Nor can it help them. And they have a much more literal interpretation of it, despite being the same religion as Americans.

  10. The_Fixer says:

    It sounds to me that Nigeria is about 75 years behind the times, based on that story. Curiously, they are of the same belief as American evangelicals.

    I feel for the gay people in places like Nigeria and Uganda. Life must be hell for them. And I think that fair-minded people should not support regimes that criminalize and marginalize any LGBT people. That’s why I say that the flow of many, many millions of dollars we give to countries such as Nigeria and Uganda needs to cease.

    Of course the USA has a way to go toward true LGBT equality, and in some cases, even toward LGBT acceptance. Thankfully, the world is changing and these idiots who can’t accept LGBT people are dying off and being marginalized, at least in some places. Nigeria and Uganda need to be on that list.

  11. crazymonkeylady says:

    You can always Go home and fight for your rights there. Gay marriage is here and will not be stopped.

  12. Romeo says:

    I’d have to agree with you, although I’m a Christian. I have had conversations with people about this anti-gay bill and some claimed that as Christians it is wrong to support homosexuality and since the gays haven’t paid attention to the preaching of the church it is best to force them. I pointed out to them that Jesus did not stone the adulteress so why should they judge, besides hatred is not a Christian trait, a girl replied, “I’m sure Jesus would be fine with if the adulteress was imprisoned.” Personally, I think Nigeria is a hopeless country, the leaders get away with so much nonsense and the people don’t even do much to make help the country, you can’t spend your whole life blaming the government for everything. This whole allocating blame thing has even gone as far as some Nigerians saying that the westerners brought homosexuality into the country. I think a lot of gays have struggled with being themselves after all they grew up learning about Adam and Eve, Noah assembling animals of opposite sexes into the ark, cartoons where male and female fall in love and with all these straight signs people are still gay, and to be honest, I think being yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you someone else is a great accomplishment.

  13. Romeo says:

    The problem with Nigerians fighting for their right is that they end up dead when they do so, it has happened several times, people march out on the street to protest and the police or army releases tear gas and shoot people and that’s it, nothing happens, people die for no reason. So when things like this happen most Nigerians just ignore it while the Nigerians abroad talk about and searching for ways to help. Check out this short story written by a Nigerian

  14. Bill_Perdue says:

    You’re right to worry. We’re being scapegoated, just as we were with Clintons DADT and DOMA.

    Through the courage and effort of our own communities we’re beginning to undo some of the harm brought by the Democrats and Republicans who supported DADT and DOMA. Nevertheless there are still 20-25 murders a year that can be directly attributed to those laws and similar state laws promoted by Bush. The same dynamics are at work in the 2 murders in Russia last year – they can be attributed to Putin and his gang of thugs.

    I think your analogy citing FDRs internment and his and others in turning away Jewish refugees is apt. They contributed to the Nazi’s delusional belief that their murderous ‘final solution’ would be accepted. It was, especially by the anti-Semitic papacy, but the reaction of most of the world was horror and rage.

    This action by the Nigerian christers endangers us all and it can be attributed in part to the vile efforts of Robertson, Lively and Obama BBF’s Rick Warren and Donnie McClurkin. They should all be charged with crimes against humanity.

  15. tinat black says:

    this is American news not Nigerian. it’s just a propaganda news to paint nigeria black in the eyes of the world. no gay was arrested and never were gay arrested. being gay is not a problem in Nigeria but the right to get marry is a problem. we grew up in nigeria with lot o of people claiming to be gay but never had problem with anyone. now the so call west a worry because a law do not permit gay to get marry. i am waiting for the day when america and europe will put a law accepting polygamy polygamy. i don’t have a problem with you being gay naither do i support imprisonment for being gay, also i do not support the law to allow gay to get marry.

  16. BeccaM says:

    I consider it ironic that Francis just about embodies most of the ideals that could charitably be considered “compassionate conservatism” — but because he does seem to be genuine about the compassion part, he’s therefore denounced by the reactionary conservatives as a communist/socialist.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Francis is a conservative – not a wingnut, but not liberal either. These days, helping the poor is “giving handouts” so he’s considered a socialist.

  18. Whitewitch says:

    Sadly – I think we will not help the people of Nigeria and that our brothers and sisters will go the way of the jews, or be interred as the Japanese were here in america. I see storm clouds brewing and I worry.

  19. Anonymous says:

    A great case study on Christianity and democracy. We always hear from the wingnuts that religion will turn a barbaric country into a “moral” one. In reality, things like education, money and a police force help a country much more than religious beliefs.

  20. Whitewitch says:

    Will we offer “asylum” to those who are gay or who might “directly or indirectly” act as if gay….or will we (the United States) turn our backs on those being imprisoned or killed as we did the jewish who sought safety in our harbor?

  21. BeccaM says:

    Aye. Swap the word ‘Fundamentalist’ in there, and it’s accurate. Not all Christian sects are bigoted, but the ones that are seem to get all the press — and have the most influence.

  22. Jim Olson says:

    Some Christian Churches. The UCC is preparing a statement condemning this, and will be taking actions to ensure that we have divested any financial interests in Nigeria.

  23. Bill_Perdue says:

    Your generalization was inaccurate.

    And I was not talking about loving the US, but supporting our (LGBT) rights. anyone who loves is a disgusting Quisling given the role of the US in aiding right wing regimes, militarizing the continent and promoting neo-colonial relationships. Colonialism and neo-colonialism are the most powerful political forces at work in most of Africa. That will only get worse as the Obama regime continues to back rightwing neocolonialist regimes and arm them.

    As Tutu noted: “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land.” American Neo-colonialism is just a modern version of that.

  24. BeccaM says:

    You do realize that most of the homophobia in Africa came from the West, don’t you? Our bigots are losing ground here, so they’re looking for more easily swayed people to influence toward irrational hate, scapegoating, and oppression.

    Not that long ago, historically speaking, America had quite a few laws that served only to oppress and repress a group of people for an in-born trait they could do nothing about. That trait? The color of one’s skin.

    It was wrong and immoral to have such laws then. It remains hateful and immoral to have them now, even if the target for that oppression is a different group.

    Go peddle your self-justification and irrational bigotry elsewhere.

  25. karmanot says:

    “you forced your laws to otherds?” I wouldn’t let my sheep anywhere near you.

  26. karmanot says:

    The word ‘black hole’ comes to mind.

  27. The_Fixer says:

    Perhaps my generalization regarding Nigerians was not 100% accurate. Somewhere in Nigeria there must be a person who loves the U.S., or is at least indifferent toward this country.

    It doesn’t sound like there are too many people in Nigeria are fighting for LGBT rights. Probably in other parts of Africa, but not in Nigeria.

    Which is what we are talking about, no? You turned this into a comment about all of Africa, it was about Nigeria. I would say the same of Uganda. But other countries in the continent? I would not be willing to paint all of Africa with the same brush, no more than I would be willing to paint the nations of any other continent with the same brush.

    I agree that there’s been plenty of exploitation of African countries on the part of the U.S. and other imperial nations. That deserves our attention and condemnation. But that is a separate topic, and not the point I was trying to make.

  28. perljammer says:

    LOL. Actually, it’s “interference”. Don’t you just hate when that happens?

  29. Bill_Perdue says:

    ‘They all hate us…” I’m not aware of any polling and I’m sure that since christers and islamists are involved there’s plenty of hate but your comment is not accurate.

    Many Africans promote LGBT rights and support us.

    Africa is relatively civilized compared to the US. African nations didn’t create the colonialism that led to genocides in Uganda or Rwanda and didn’t invade or commit genocide in Vietnam and Iraq.

  30. Bill_Perdue says:

    Nigerians should not be punished because their leaders are christians and islamists.

    The christers were gunning for our brothers who are now in serious danger.We have to ask the NSA but this is likely a sign the the Nigerian government fears the mounting unrest among petroleum workers, government workers and small farmers. “Nigeria’s two main oil unions deferred plans to start an indefinite national strike on Jan. 1 until they meet with government officials…” There seems to be a strike wave in the making.

    anglo-catholic archscumbag Peter Akinola is a bitterly hateful advocate of punishing those who admit their genetic heritage and embrace it. He, the government that panders to him and other christer and islamic thugs are now guilty of crimes against humanity.

    We should push the Obama administration to announce that the doors of US consulates and Embassies in the region are open to grant asylum and social assistance to anyone from the LGBT communities in danger of being imprisoned or subjected to violence. He and H Clinton promised to do that but no action has been taken because the US has no civilized leaders. “This country has served as a beacon of hope for many fleeing persecution abroad,” said Rochelle Fortier Nwadibia, Legal Director of PCI Justice. “Unfortunately, today our arms are not open wide for the modern-day asylum-seeker. Instead, we find the creeping criminalization of asylum-seekers… not the safe harbor we’d expect.” via

    (The link to your claim that aid is being siphoned off went here – – here’s a good one-

    Humanitarian aid should be distributed by reputable UN agencies and NGO’s so that corrupt Nigerian and American officials have no control over it.

  31. The_Fixer says:

    The reason why we’re sending them aid is because their leaders are embezzling government funds that would normally be used to help the population.

    Time to cut them off. They all hate us anyhow, why pay someone to hate you?

  32. Stratplayer says:

    You’ve “never heard Americans complaining” about the suppression of human rights in the Middle East? Really?

  33. Monoceros Forth says:

    Oh, yeah. I’ll admit right here that there’s enough of the vestigial Catholic in me that I’m irrationally cheered, far more than I should be, by any sign from the Catholic hierarchy that maybe they’ll adopt a saner attitude toward matters of sex. And of course it does hearten me that even the mild affirmations from Pope Francis of the importance of social justice are enough to throw the right-wing American bishops into a tizzy. They’ve become just another flavor of evangelical fundie, anyway. But can I honestly believe that a few slightly hopeful remarks from the Pope herald any real change in Catholic policy? No. Of course not.

  34. BeccaM says:

    Aye, if anybody thinks Francis is some kind of neo-progressive hero, they should realize he has not changed his positions one whit on LGBT or reproductive rights issues.

    And those positions aren’t favorable.

  35. Monoceros Forth says:

    I think he’s too busy riding the anti-abortion hobbyhorse at the moment.

  36. Ninong says:

    Let’s see if Pope Francis makes a public statement or not. At the very least, he could ask one of his Nigerian cardinals (I think there are three or four of them) to say something. Unfortunately, most of the Catholic hierarchy in Africa thinks Queen Victoria is still in charge and their views on “gender equality” date back to the late 19th century.

  37. FLL says:

    Since this case involves the torture of innocent men in order to name other gay men, shouldn’t the United Nations be involved? Isn’t the UN committed to safeguarding human rights, for instance, the right not to be tortured by the Nigerian authorities? This should be front-page news throughout the world.

  38. FLL says:

    Nigeria does not have a right to foreign aid from the United States, nor does any nation. Nigerian authorities are acting as though the United States is an enemy nation:

    The witch hunt in Bauchi state all began with a wild rumor that the United States had paid gay activists $20 million to promote same-sex marriage in this highly religious and conservative nation, according to an AIDS counselor.

  39. mamazboy says:

    I don’t understand why we give them any money anyway. Aren’t they oil-rich? (At least that loathsome leader and his cronies.) I wish we get every gay person out of that country and reestablish them here. Seems hopeless in that hellhole.

  40. FLL says:

    The AP report mentions more than one man being tortured in order to obtain the names of other gay men. Here’s another shocker. The Nigerian authorities are treating the United States as an enemy nation. Don’t believe me? This is from the AP report:

    The witch hunt in Bauchi state all began with a wild rumor that the United States had paid gay activists $20 million to promote same-sex marriage in this highly religious and conservative nation, according to an AIDS counselor.

  41. rextrek says:

    how about drink a nice heaping cup of STFU

  42. Ninong says:

    Nigeria is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Their new Charter, signed by Queen Elizabeth II on Commonwealth Day, March 11, 2013, calls for recognition of “gender equality.” Nigeria is clearly in serious breach of the Charter and should be suspended immediately!

  43. Monoceros Forth says:

    “Nigeria as a nation has the right to decide it own law without the interfiarance of the west.”

    Oh, indeed! And we have a right to let them stew in their own bigoted juices without any encouragement from us.

    “Interferance”, by the way.

  44. Blogvader says:

    And people wonder why I do not believe in a loving Christian god.


  45. tinat black says:

    stop every aid and stop stealing the African resources pretending you are helping her. did Africa force poligamy on you when you are against it? why most you forced your laws to otherds? and i have never heard you west speaking against the saudis and other middle east nations. who told you that we gain from the USA. you rob us to enrich your nation and pretend you are hhelping us.

  46. tinat black says:

    Nigeria as a nation has the right to decide it own law without the interfiarance of the west. most african Nation practice poligamy while the west are against it and no one force them to accept it into law. why most we adopt their way of life. do your gay life in west. the Arabs have been against that for years and we never heard Americans complaining. are you afraid of the middle east?

  47. Rachel McAuley says:


    ❉❉❉❉ ❉❉❉❉❉ ❉⿗❉❉❉ ❉❉❉❉❉⾑❉Did you catch that last part? Simply “supporting” gay clubs, societies, organizations, or “meetings” will get you ten years in prison.

  48. Indigo says:

    And the Christian churches maintain discreet silence. Oh, and we’re supposed to think the pope is a regular sweetheart of a guy.

  49. BeccaM says:

    Aye… I won’t take that bet because I think we’re talking single digits in that time estimate.

  50. Monoceros Forth says:

    If the Obama administration really were to make some symbolic gesture of condemnation of Nigeria’s policy by cutting off its aid or even merely suggesting it’s a possibility (I’m not holding my breath, by the way), does anyone want to lay bets on how many minutes would elapse between the first reportage of the news and the first cry from the right wing about how Obama’s treading on Nigeria’s sacred Bible-based values?

  51. cc423 says:

    Please contact the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta (for some reason) and let them know we do not do business with vicious thugs:

  52. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    I think we need to ask the Orthodox Anglican movement for comment, seeing as they publically supported this bill.
    In addition, I think we need to cut off all taxpayer aid to Nigeria, remove tax deductability for charitable donations ending up in Nigeria, and bar advocates of this legislation from entry to the USA.
    Part of these actions should be done PUBLICALLY, in order to show other barbarian nations that there will be consequences.

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