Archbishop Peter Akinola

Nigerian religious leaders have spoken out against same-sex marriage as the country’s lawmakers contemplate new anti-gay laws.

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, made clear his support for the bill that aims to criminalise same-sex marriage and anyone associated with such ceremonies in a position paper submitted to a parliamentary committee.

“Same sex marriage, apart from being ungodly, is unscriptural, unnatural, unprofitable, unhealthy, un-cultural, un-African and un-Nigerian. It is a perversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this country,” said Akinola.

“It is also capable of existincting [sic] mankind and as such should never be allowed to take root in Nigeria. Outlawing it is to ensure the continued existence of this nation. The need for doing this is urgent, compelling, and imperative.”

Meanwhile, a leading Nigerian Imam, Ustaz Hudu Muhammad, has rebuked parliamentarians for agreeing to listen to openly gay people last week in their public hearings on the bill.

In an angry sermon on Friday, Muhammad said: “It is a shame on the members of the committee and the House in general to give room to such nonsense because no religion or culture in Nigeria permits same-sex marriage.

“It is crime against humanity and God. There is no basis for any debate on the desirability or otherwise of the bill because same-sex marriage is wrong.”

Under the bill, anyone who enters “into a same gender marriage contract” could be jailed for three years while anyone who “witnesses, abet and aids the solemnisation” of such a union could be jailed for five years.

The new law could be used to punish anyone who gives any help or advice to a suspected “same gender” couple; anyone who rents them an apartment, tells them their rights, or approves of their relationships.

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