The United States government has vowed to continue to press the
Nigerian government to reverse its anti-gay law.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-
Greenfield, said this during a live-web chat with journalists in
Washington. Our correspondent monitored the web chat in Abuja.
Thomas-Greenfield also said that America was not bothered that Chinese
companies were fast taking over the African market from their US
President Goodluck Jonathan had on January 7, 2014 assented to the
Same s*x Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2013 which criminalises
homosexuality in the country.
On January 14 when it became public that the President had signed the
bill into law, the US, Canada and the European Union openly expressed
reservations over the law.
Thomas-Greenfield, who said the US had adopted the protection of the
rights of same-s*x people as part of its foreign policies, vowed that
Washington would continue to mount and sustain pressure on Nigeria
and other countries to reverse their laws against the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender community.
She said, “As a government, it is one of the highest priorities and
strongest values that discrimination against anyone based on their sexual
orientation and gender identity is wrong.
We believe human rights should be available to everybody.
“As a policy, we will continue to press the government of Nigeria as well
as other governments who have provided legislation that discriminate
against the LGBT community.”
Thomas-Greenfiled, who did not agree that pressuring Nigeria to reverse
the anti-gay law amounted to interference, said the country and Uganda
had the hardest legislation on the gay community.
She said, “This is very much a work in progress, but I think you will
agree with me that the law in Nigeria really went far in discriminating
against this community but also people who associate with them.
“So we will continue to press the government, to press the legislature to
change these laws and provide human rights for all Nigerian people
regardless of their sexual orientation.”
She, however, did not disclose if the US would impose sanctions on the
countries with anti-gay laws to achieve its objectives.
Thomas-Greenfield was optimistic that the U.S would win the fight to
protect the LGBT community.
She said, “With what is happening in the US, you can determine how far
we are willing to go. We strongly believe human rights for all people and
we are particularly opposed to legislation that actually targets the gay
community for discrimination.
So we are prepared to push this as a policy not just in Africa but across