The recent hacking of the Nigerian government’s website in order to protest the country’s anti-gay laws may backfire, entrenching the belief that homosexuality is a Western imposition.

Thursday’s attack on Nigeria.gov.ng by Irish computer hacker, Paddyhack, replaced the site with a message calling on the country to end its homophobic policies.

“…nobody should live in fear of being jailed when their action is loving another consenting adult, regardless of gender,” wrote the hacker.

Paddyhack called on Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to “veto or renounce” a recently passed bill that will jail people of the same sex who attempt to marry and bans gay groups and any displays of homosexuality.

If not, the hacker threatened to “unleash a torrent of fury aimed directly at the direction of your administration, starting with some startling but unsurprising evidence of corruption in your ranks”.

The blog 76crimes.com reported that the foreign-based attack could serve to justify the government’s position that homosexuality is “un-African” and that Western governments are attempting to impose homosexuality and same-sex marriage onto Nigeria.

This was reflected in a statement by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information, in response to the hacking.

“The attacks are a criminal attempt to blackmail countries which have resisted pressures by homosexuals to legalize gay marriages as is practiced in some countries to do same,” said the ministry.

“Nigeria is a highly cultured and religious society whose people remain overwhelmingly opposed to the imposition of gay rights and gay marriages as practised in some countries.

“Those seeking to impose gay rights from abroad are advised to stick to legal and constitutional means of expressing their opinions as government will not condone criminal violations of our laws by any group in the guise of promoting gay rights in the country,” added the ministry.

Last year, international activist hacking groups – described as ‘hacktivists’ – targeted websites in Botswana, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda in a number of similar attacks in protest against these countries’ anti-gay policies.

Despite vast evidence that homosexuality is a human phenomenon that spans all cultures, and that homosexuality has always existed in Africa, many of the continent’s governments continue to claim otherwise.

Ironically, most legislation criminalising homosexuality in Africa was brought to these countries by their former colonial rulers.

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