It’s a case of two continents, two realities as Nigeria is set to ban same-sex unions, while the EU officially condemns internal homophobia.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation is set to ban same-sex unions according to its information minister Frank Nweke who told the BBC that this was a “pre-emptive step” following a growing list of countries that are legalising same-sex marriages.
The legislation would result in a five year prison sentence for anyone that partakes in a gay-wedding as a couple or as an official.
“In most cultures in Nigeria, same-sex relationships, sodomy and the likes of that, is regarded as abominable,” he said. And the new laws will also ban any form of protest aimed at promoting the rights of lesbians and gays.
“Formation of associations of homosexuals and lesbians as well as engagement in any form of protest to press for rights or recognition will also be punishable under the law,” the minister told journalists.
It is not yet known when the bill will be presented to parliament for approval.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament has passed a resolution this week which condemned homophobia and called on the European Commission to be more proactive in fighting homophobia in member states.
It specifically targets nations that do not ensure equal treatment in the areas of employment and labour, and calls for penalties on those countries that do not comply. The resolution also recommends that proposals be put forward to protect same-sex couples.
The resolution passed by 469 to 149 votes, with 41 abstentions.
Several EU members, primarily former communist nations – including Poland and Latvia – have been accusing of homophobia. Actions in some countries have included banning same-sex unions and barring Pride events from taking place. Poland was warned by the European Commission in October 2005 that it could lose voting rights if it continued to oppose gay rights.
In some ways, perhaps two continents that are not so different after all.