President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan

The Canadian government has reportedly cancelled a planned state visit by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, apparently due to his approval of his country’s new anti-gay law.

According to the Nigerian Monitor, Jonathan was set to visit Canada on 13 and 14 February but Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government “cancelled the visit in a bid to show its displeasure at the new law”.

The Nigerian Ambassador to Canada, Ojo Madueke, was apparently informed of the cancellation and asked to let President Jonathan know that he would no longer be welcome.

Shortly after it was revealed that the draconian legislation had been signed into law by the president earlier this month, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird called on Nigeria “to repeal this law and to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Nigerians regardless of their sexual orientation”.

“Canada has clearly spoken out against human rights violations committed against people on the basis of their sexuality, and we will continue to do so,” he added.

The recently enacted Nigerian law outlaws same-sex marriages, same-sex relationships, public same-sex affection and LGBT clubs or organisations; with prison sentences of up to 14 years.

People who witness or aid a same-sex marriage and anyone who does not report LGBT people to the authorities also face a jail sentence. Gay sex is already illegal with a penalty of 14 years in prison.

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