Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Morons in high places

Nigeria's Vanguard reports on some rather bizarre comments by the country's foreign minister.

Under its universal periodic review mechanism proceedure, in a session lasting three hours Chief Ojo Madueke presented an overview of Nigeria's human rights situation... His presentation caused a stir when he informed members of the council that the government of Nigeria had been unable to locate persons of gay and sexual orientation, despite concerted efforts by his ministry to include this category of persons in the consultations on the human rights situation in Nigeria.

The foreign minister is part of a government which has proposed to throw people in jail for up to five years who 'witnesses, abet and aids the solemnisation' of a same sex marriage. Two years ago, the foreign minister's party proposed a bill which would criminalize free speech that suggested that gays and lesbians deserved 'rights of recognition'.

Striking a blow for sectarian harmony, the government's virulent anti-gay crusade is one of the few things on which the country's normally fractious Muslim and conservative Christian communities can find common ground.

Given the government-sanctioned assault on (at the very least) their freedom, is it really much of a shock that gays and lesbians in Nigeria aren't eager to discuss their sexual orientation with a rabidly homophobic government?!

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