The European Parliament’s all-party ‘intergroup’ on gay and lesbian rights has told the Nigerian Government that the increased level of homophobia in the country is “unacceptable”.

Last week, the Intergroup sent a letter to Ambassador Usman A. Baraya at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the EU.

“We have to react to continued and life-threatening media harassment of human rights defenders taking place in Nigeria,” Michael Cashman, president of the Intergroup, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Media outlets in the country have been inciting hatred against human rights activists of the NGO House of Rainbow [a gay church established in 2006] in Lagos and many of them are scared for their lives and hiding or have left the country.

“That is unacceptable and the government must intervene,” he insisted.

The letter was signed by MEPs Michael Cashman, Lissy Gröner and Raúl Romeva.

Homosexuality is outlawed in the Nigerian penal code and can carry a penalty of imprisonment of up to 14 years. In the country’s northern states, which also operate under Sharia Muslim law, the punishment can be death.

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