Target: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan
Goal: Veto bill criminalizing same-sex relationships
The Nigerian House of Representatives recently passed a bill imposing a minimum 14-year prison sentence for those found guilty of same-sex relationships in Nigeria, leaving President Goodluck Jonathan as the only person in the way of marriage equality. Technically, the bill only criminalizes same-sex marriages or civil unions, but those terms are defined so broadly within the bill as to include virtually any same-sex cohabitation. The bill also includes minimum 10-year sentence for those who “support” LGBTQ rights in Nigeria.
Sodomy is already punishable by caning or stoning in North Nigeria, and this law could give Nigerian police more reasons to investigate and execute those suspected of same-sex relationships. The law will also make it much harder for outreach groups to help deal with the outbreak of AIDS in Nigeria, as those found to be reaching out to LGBTQ individuals with AIDS can be tried under the new law. Nigeria has the third largest number of people living with AIDS in the world, and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS has recognized that a critical step in preventing the spread of AIDS in Nigeria is reaching out to the Nigerian LGBTQ community.
If human rights are ever going to be protected within Nigeria, this law must not be signed into effect. Urge Nigeria’s president to reconsider his stance on same-sex marriage.
Dear President Goodluck Johnson,
As the President of Nigeria and a public servant, it is your duty to make sure that the Same Sex Marriage Bill is not signed into law. Under this bill, LGBTQ Nigerians, those accused of helping them or providing outreach, and even straight Nigerians cohabiting with others of the same gender could all be imprisoned for upwards of a decade.
The law would be a huge roadblock to controlling the outbreak of AIDS in Nigeria. The National Agency for the control of AIDS has recognized that this epidemic can only be stopped by targeting members of the LGBTQ community for aid, and under this law, they will no longer legally be able to do this.
We urge you to prevent this law from coming into effect, thus enshrining human rights in Nigeria and saving countless lives.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: World Economic Forum