Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari visited US Congress yesterday (Wednesday 9th July), where he shut down any questions on marriage equality in his home country.
Speaking at a joint session of the senate and house committees on foreign affairs during his four day visit Buhari said emphatically that gay sex would remain illegal in Nigeria and is found to be ‘abhorent’ to African culture.
Femi Adeisna, the president’s special adviser on media and publicity, later tweeted to clarify Buhari’s stance. ‘The issue of gay marriage came up here yesterday. PMB was point blank. Sodomy is against the law in Nigeria, and abhorrent to our culture. Talks shifted to another matter once PMB emphatically stated Nigeria’s stand on same sex marriage. The issue was not pushed.’
Nigeria has one of the harshest anti-gay laws in the entire world, which bans gay marriage and can punish any same sex couples with up to 14 years in prison, with 10 year sentences being applied to anyone else who was involved in the ceremony, including guests in attendance.
Last week US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said that the US would be mounting substantial pressure on the Nigerian government to rethink its harsh laws, though these pressures would appear to not yet be in place is they could not even press the issue during Buhari’s visit.