Ambassador Eric Mayooraz
The Nigerian government has threatened Switzerland’s Ambassador to the country, Eric Mayooraz, with the “full might of the law” over claims that he has a male partner.
According to Daily Trust, the Nigerian authorities learned of the apparent relationship following attempts to register a Brazilian man, known only as Mr. Carlos, with the Association of Spouses of Heads of Mission as Mayooraz’ spouse.
Homosexuality and same-sex marriage are illegal in Nigeria, however, leading to an enquiry on the matter; confirmed by the Spokesperson for Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Akinremi Bolaji.
“We are aware of the development and have started investigation,” Bolaji told the newspaper. “It is either they have deceived us because we would never have allowed such a person to enter the country if we were aware before now.”
“We have a law, which must be obeyed by all. If we find him culpable, he will be made to face the full wrath of the law,” he threatened.
It is not clear if Mayooraz would have diplomatic immunity if there are attempts to prosecute him in Nigeria. It’s also not been confirmed that the ambassador does indeed have a same-sex partner.
The Swiss Embassy has refused to comment on the private life of its staff but has confirmed that Mayooraz is not married.
Swiss politician Martin Naef told 20 Minutes that it’s “unacceptable that Nigeria reproach our ambassador for living with a man, if this is really the case.
“It is up to Switzerland to decide who it wants to send as representative. And sexual orientation does not matter,” he insisted.
Nigeria has some of the most repressive anti-LGBT legislation in the world. A 2014 federal law prohibits same-sex marriage with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison and stipulates 10 years in jail for public displays of same-sex affection as well as 10 years for membership or support of LGBT groups.
Under older colonial-era legislation, anyone found guilty of engaging in homosexual acts can be jailed for 14 years.