Homosexuals in Nigeria are planning a protest in Abuja against the anti-gay law signed by President Goodluck Jonathan on 7 January.
In a statement signed by members of ‘The Right Defence’ group, and accompanied by masked pictures of the gay men, they said they were speaking out against the unlawful discrimination of gays, lesbians and transgendered people in the country.
“The planning for the non-violent rally is to avert the continuous attacking of the unarmed citizens and the unlawful and arbitrary arrest of wanted individuals,” the group said.
“This is not an ideological protest movement. This is about people making some very democratic demands about the government’s need to respect freedom of assembly and freedom of association, as it is channelled in the United Nations universal declaration of Human Rights.”
The group also accused the Nigeria human rights body and the National Human Rights Commission of a lack of integrity in their refusal to stand up against the new law.
They revealed that many in their community have increasingly become victims of persecution which often goes unreported due to fear of reprisals, and thanked the European Union countries and the Canadian government for supporting their plight and urged the Nigerian government to reverse the law banning same-sex unions.
The new law has been criticised by western countries who see it as an infringement on the rights of gays and lesbians.