Have you been wondering why there is an increase of interest in persons who are gay in Nigeria despite the law that prescribes a 14-year jail term?

A bishop knows says he knows why.

In 2017, a survey by NOI showed a growing acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Nigeria, but the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, says homosexuals are essentially destroying themselves.

He believes it is “veritably poisoning” the Nigerian society and he says the unlawful act is being fed by “disintegration of social values and cultures".

Most Reverend Okoh blamed the development on the influence of western culture facilitated by the internet and satellite broadcasting.

“Homosexuality hinders the progress of a nation and such ungodly images should never be shown in Nigeria.

“It is pertinent to note that the advent of satellite broadcasting has continued to pose a serious challenge to our traditional cultures, religious values and our identity as a people.

“Our youths are now being deceived by the international media with values that are at variance with our culture and the teachings of our religion,” he said.

Homosexuality was prohibited during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan through the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) of 2014.

SSMPA bans gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of gay rights groups and prescribes penalties of up to 14 years in prison.

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During a four-day official visit to the United States in July 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari affirmed his administration’s concurrence with the law.

He ruled out any chance of Nigeria being pressured by America or other Western powers into legalising homosexuality in the country.

Since then, many have gone on trial for alleged involvement in homosexuality.

The NOI survey, which compared attitudes towards LGBT people in Nigeria against a 2015 poll, showed a 7% increase in their acceptance.

It also found a 9% rise to 39% of those surveyed who think that LGBT people should be allowed equal access to health care, education and housing.

But Okoh said: “What is happening in the Nigerian society is a result of international influence and urbanisation.

“As people move from villages to the cities, they are detached from their ancestral authority, parents, chiefs and others.

“Anti-social behaviours that used to be tackled are no longer tackled all because of modernisation,” he said.

The primate urged Nigerians to imbibe the values of their traditional culture in the interest of future generations. 

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