We’ll compel Nigeria to accept same-sex marriage – US

AHEAD of President Muhammadu Buhari’s meeting with his United States, US counterpart, Barak Obama at White House on July 20, Washington ...

AHEAD of President Muhammadu Buhari’s meeting with his United States, US counterpart, Barak
Obama at White House on July 20, Washington yesterday said it would mount pressure on Nigeria to accept same-sex marriage.

The meeting is at the instance of Obama. Ambassador Susan Rice confirmed Obama’s invitation to
Buhari via her twitter handle; @AmbassadorRice when she tweeted, 

“we announced @WhiteHouse visit next month of Nigerian President Buhari, who was inaugurated in May after a historic election.”
Since Obama’s invitation was announced, Nigerians have been apprehensive that Obama could use the forum to prevail on Buhari to reverse Nigeria’s anti-gay law signed by former President Goodluck Jonathan in January 2014. Buhari, who has accepted the invitation, said he would use the visit to strengthen ties between the two countries.

The fears were confirmed yesterday by the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs,
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who stated categorically that they would continue to pressure Nigeria until it legalizes same-sex marriage.
Thomas-Greenfield revealed America’s plans yesterday during a live-web chat with journalists in Washington DC. US recently legalised gay marriage, a development, which sparked off mixed reactions across the globe.
Thomas-Greenfield, who said the US had adopted the protection of the rights of same-sex 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 lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender,
LGBT 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-Greenfield, who did not agree that pressuring Nigeria to reverse the anti-gay law amounted to interference, said the country and Uganda have 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.”
Thomas-Greenfield was optimistic that the US would win the fight to protect the LGBT community.
She continued: 
“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 the world.”

Lorakpen Ishu-Joseph 


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