Presidential hopeful Muhammadu Buhari
Nigeria’s president is turning to homophobic scare tactics in an effort to win the upcoming election later this month.
President Goodluck Jonathan’s spokesperson, Fani Kayode, has accused presidential challenger Muhammadu Buhari of secretly telling Western nations that he’ll consider legalising same-sex marriage in order to secure their support.
According to Premium Times, Kayode made the comments in a press conference on Wednesday.
He was quoted as saying that Buhari “had talks with the representatives of at least four western countries. The leaders of those countries made an offer to General Muhammadu Buhari and we are reliably informed that he has put the offer under consideration.”
“The proposition and offer was that if he was prepared to support legislation in Nigeria to allow same-sex marriage and if he was prepared to repeal the anti-gay laws in Nigeria they will, in return, endorse, support and fund him, initially covertly and eventually publicly, at the right time,” said Kayode.
He added that Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), are “considering this despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Nigerian people find same sex marriage and, indeed, homosexuality repugnant and unacceptable.”
Kayode urged Buhari “to come clean” and tell the Nigerian people if “in the unlikely event of his being elected President, he is seriously considering scrapping the anti-homosexual laws in our country and pushing through new legislation which would allow same-sex marriage.”
A number of African leaders consistently link LGBT rights with colonialism; asserting that homosexuality is un-African and is being imposed on the continent by the West.
Buhari’s media director, Garba Shehu, responded to the claims to BuzzFeed News by saying: “That man who is speaking for President Jonathan is a mad man. He is in the gutter, and we’re not going to dignify it with a response.”
Shehu said the attack was an attempt to avoid dealing with “real” campaign issues such as security, unemployment, and corruption.
In January last year, President Jonathan signed the country’s Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, which outlaws any kind of same-sex relationships with imprisonment, and criminalises anyone who supports or operates gay clubs, societies or organisations.
Gay sex was already illegal in Nigeria with penalties including 14 years imprisonment. Twelve northern states in Nigeria operate under Islamic Sharia law that allows homosexuality to be punished with death by stoning.