Wednesday 4 March 2009

Nigerian UN Human Rights report challenged

I’ve already blogged about the appearance of Nigeria before the UN Human Rights Council to defend its human rights record. Davis Mac-Iyalla has drawn my attention to a report on the Vanguard web site reporting the presentation by Chief Ojo Madueke.

“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.

“He further informed the audience that his ministry located only one woman of lesbian orientation and when invited to participate in a discussion on the rights of gay and lesbian persons, the lady informed his Ministry that she was pregnant.”

Comments on the article have been posted. Emeka writes:

“As far as Nigerians know, there were only two gays in Nigeria - a certain Davis Mac-Iyalla, who has fled the country & another person, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) of Lagos State origin, who is now deceased. “In the case of Mac-Iyalla, many people believe that he was doing his gay activist stuff as a way to fleece money from Gay groups in Europe & US. In other words, 419. In fact, he was known to have a string of girlfriends.

“As for Lesbians, they are abound in Nigeria & unashamedly so. There's a high profile lesbian woman living in Onitsha whose late father was a very wealthy industrialist from Abagana in Anambra State. Her late father had the title "Sir". She is apparently the top-dog in their Lesbian Association in Onitsha.”

The information that Davis Mac-Iyalla has a string of girl friends will come as a surprise to those of us who have known him well for 3 years, his Nigerian friends who have know him far longer, and his mother who has known him longest of all. Why do people need to fabricate lies?

The information about lesbians is unusual, since conservative Anglicans habitually deny that any form of homosexuality exists in Africa. The ministry found one woman they identify as of lesbian orientation and then add the information that she was pregnant. Emeka reveals that lesbians abound in Nigeria. Clearly the ministry should have contacted him to help with their research.

Ndibe Madu, identified as a solicitor, comments:

“I've in many occasions listened to Ojo Madueke and occasionally he sounds reasonable but on some occasions he sounds unreasonable and unenlightened. For Ojo Madueke to publicly say that Nigeria has no gay or lesbian group so sounds someone from Mars and such comment does not befit a man of his political and
educational standard. Of course, in Nigeria we have gay and lesbian groups. The issue such as this should be sensitive and the likes of Ojo Madueke should not get involved and expose his ignorance and unenlightment.

“It can be seen from his comment that he (Ojo Madueke) has never conducted or commissioned research in the area of gay and lesbian to discover facts before making his nonsensical comments over the issue. The comment of Ojo Madueke is just like a minister of health coming out to profess that there are no HIV or AIDS in Nigeria. The president should look for people who can think before they talk in place of people like Ojo Madueke who talks before thinking.

“Comment such as this makes Nigerians in these categories to run underground and provoke homophobia amongst the people. I am not one but their rights should be protected by recognising them and recognising their existence. The British inventor of binary numbers that made the invention of computer became plausible is a gay and with the comment of Ojo Madueke if he was around then, would have made him go underground and the invention dies with him. Sexual orientation is private and should be reserved to that quarter.”

Ndibe Madu confirms what we in Changing Attitude know perfectly well.
  • There are tens of thousands of lesbian and gay people in Nigeria
  • There are lesbian and gay groups in Nigeria
  • There are Nigerians who believe the human rights of lesbian and gay people should be protected
  • The Government made no attempt to conduct research

The Church of Nigeria has conceded that lesbian and gay people exist – why does the Government lie to the United Nations and claim they don’t?

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