Nigerian newspaper publishes article condoning mob justice against gay people

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A Nigerian writer has called for his compatriots to rise up against homosexuals if action is not taken against them by the government.

In an article published by Nigerian NewsDirect, a weekly newspaper, Gafar Abdulmumin, who is Muslim, lashed¬†out at author and Christian minister JSS Hopewell for having “offended Islam, Muslims and the Prophet Mohammed” in his book Jihad.

He also attacked Hopewell for “aiding, abetting [the] homosexuality law with impunity” and for having “encouraged lesbianism [and] homosexuality” by condemning the anti-LGBT legislation signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.

Alarmingly, Abdulmumin went on to write: “Every Nigerian should be ready to defend our laws in this land. If JSS Hopewell wants to tell us otherwise, then he surely must be brought to justice in this country. If not, who can blame the ordinary Nigerians from taking the law into their own hands to erase this kind of evil from our culture and nation.”

Abdulmumin also suggested that HIV is being primarily spread by homosexuals in Nigeria and argued that Hopewell must himself be gay or bisexual if he defends the human rights of LGBT people.

“He must be brought to book, we insist,” said Abdulmumin. “If our lawmakers and courts do not take action, that can only send more signals to others to break our laws. If the lawmakers do nothing, sooner or later, the ordinary citizen will take the law into their own hands and who will blame them?”

Nigerian NewsDirect states that its mission is to be the “best promoter of truth” and that its vision is the “provision of accurate news from source and always adding value”.

By publishing an article that includes hate speech and outright falsehoods without question and effectively calls for vigilante action against sexual minorities, the newspaper has strayed very far from its objectives.

Gay sex is 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.

The Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, enacted in 2014, outlaws any kind of same-sex relationship with imprisonment, and criminalises anyone who supports or operates gay clubs, societies or organisations.

According to Human Rights Watch, the law has led to an increase in extortion and violence against LGBT people and imposed restrictions on nongovernmental organisations providing essential services to LGBT people in Nigeria.

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