An anti-LGBT+ bishop from Nigeria has suggested that if Joe Biden wants the country to decriminalise homosexuality, he should take a Nigerian man as his “second wife”.
The angry tirade comes after Biden vowed to advance the cause of LGBT+ rights around the world, threatening financial sanctions on regimes deemed to have infringed on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people.
A memo signed by Biden on 4 February instructed US government agencies to “strengthen existing efforts to combat the criminalisation by foreign governments of LGBTQI+ status or conduct”.
It added: “When foreign governments move to restrict the rights of LGBTQI+ persons or fail to enforce legal protections in place, thereby contributing to a climate of intolerance, agencies engaged abroad shall consider appropriate responses, including using the full range of diplomatic and assistance tools and, as appropriate, financial sanctions, visa restrictions, and other actions.”
Preacher says Joe Biden should come to Nigeria and marry a man
Speaking to African outlet Sahara Reporters, bishop Emmah Isong of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria hit out at Biden in the wake of the memo, defending Nigeria’s laws criminalising homosexuality.
He said: “I personally take it as a rumour that America wants to sanction governments that are anti-gay. The US has not communicated officially with the government of Nigeria.
“Let there be an official gazetted letter signed by the Secretary of State of the United States telling us to become gay, then we invite the president of the US to come and marry a man in Nigeria as his second wife.
“He must practise what he’s preaching, if the president of America wants Nigeria to practise gay, he should come and marry a man from here so we will know he means business.”
He added: “Every nation is equal in the comity of nations. America is a country that believes in the tenets of democracy which is freedom of speech, and I believe that Nigeria is an independent nation, we are not a nation under America.
“We are not among the states under American nation. We have the right to be anti-gay, I believe no one can sanction us for that.
“If they sanction us for being against gays, we can sanction them for believing in it… the worst thing they can do is raise their visa fees and we raise ours too and they reduce it and apologise and we also reduce ours and apologise.”
Nigeria maintains strict anti-gay laws
Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria and is punished by up to 14 years in prison.
A law passed by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 bans same-sex relationships, and also makes a person who “registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisation, or directly or indirectly make public show of same-sex amorous relationship” liable for 10 years in prison.
In October, a judge threw out charges against 47 men arrested under the country’s anti-gay law after a raid on a hotel.