• CAN, Islamic clerics urge President to shun gay issue at parley
Ahead of the July 20, 2015 meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and his United States, US counterpart, Barack Obama, Nigerians have expressed fears that the host President could place the same-sex saga on the table for discussions by the two leaders.
They hinged their concerns on the recent verdict of the US Supreme Court judgement, which legalises same-sex marriage among Americans.
Among those who commented on the meeting and the role Buhari should play in the event of same-sex discussion being tabled before him by the US government, included Christian and Muslim leaders as well as human rights groups.
The union of same-sex is outlawed in Nigeria and severe sanctions await offenders. The law was passed by the 7th National Assembly, which the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan assented to.
The law introduced a range of stringent judicial sanctions including a 14-year jail term for convicted homosexuals caught in the act of same gender marriage.
Under the law operational in Nigeria, even media practitioners are liable to be jailed should they give publicity to any same-sex marriage ceremony.
The Federal Government’s rejection of gay marriage was used against the Jonathan administration which refused to assist the country to fight Boko Haram insurgents, who had taken over most parts of the North-East zone.
Since Buhari came to office, the West has reached out to him, including inviting him to the just concluded Group of Seven (G-7) leaders, who have promised to assist him check the menace of the terrorists.
In fact, the G-7 leaders, whose nationals are favourably disposed to gay and lesbianism, have asked Buhari to prepare Nigeria’s military needs to crush Boko Haram for their vetting.
The White House had in a statement said that during the visit, Obama will discuss “a holistic, regional approach to combating Boko Haram” with President Buhari.
The statement also informed that “the visit will underscore the United States’ commitment to strengthening and expanding our partnership with Nigeria’s new government,” adding that during the visit, advancing economic and political reforms in Nigeria will also be discussed between senior government advisers from both countries.
In his reaction to the planned visit at a time the US is celebrating the apex court’s judgment on same-sex union, the Director of Issues at the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Elder Sunday Oibeh, expressed disappointment over America’s Supreme Court ruling in favour of gay marriage, saying that whoever has fear of God will not want to be part of it.
Oibeh urged President Buhari not to discuss the same-sex marriage issue with President Barak Obama during the visit in the event of the US President bringing the matter up.
He said that Buhari should strictly discuss what affects Nigerians with Obama.
The Christian leader said that gay is for the Americans and not Nigerians, stating that the practice is alien and should not be discussed or accepted by any individual and group of people in Africa and Nigeria.
According to him, “God condemns same-sex marriage and when Sodom and Gomorrah was involved in it, it collapsed. America will soon collapse unless the people get down on their knees to ask God for forgiveness.
“We are very much aware that some leaders in African countries are into agreement with the America and Britain to support same-sex marriage so that they can help them get into power and we hope that President Buhari is not going into such agreement for the same purpose.
“Our agenda on the issue of the same sex has been concluded and we will not go back. As a nation, as a people, we say no to gay marriage, because it is alien. Any African leader that decides to go into such agreement with America and the British should do that on its own.
“We are not unaware that America and Britain have given grants to some African countries for this purpose, but since God has condemned homosexuality, it will not work and it will not stand.
“President Buhari should not go out there and swallow any carrot that will hook his throat, but he should represent and respect the opinions of Nigerians that said no to same-sex marriage,” he said.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Secretary in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, Hon. Titus Nwankwo Nwachukwu, condemned gay marriage, saying that morally, the practice is wrong.
Nwachukwu told Nigerian Pilot that whether the American Supreme Court passes judgement in favour of gay marriage or not, does not concern Nigerians, adding that it is strictly their business.
According to him, “it is a very bad judgement as far as I am concerned and anybody who is celebrating it is celebrating evil.”
“As our President will be visiting Obama, if there is any discussion on gay marriage, I know that President Buhari, will represent Nigeria and Africa and Africans are totally against gay marriage.
“He will not hesitate to tell the US President the stand of Africa and Nigeria in particular on gay marriage. He cannot do otherwise, and if he acts otherwise, he has misrepresented us and I am very sure he will never do that,” he said.
Similarly, Islamic scholars have advised the two leaders to restrict their discussions to how the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria could be brought to an end, among other issues that would be beneficial to the two nations.
They said the practice is prohibited in Islam as well as in all the divine religions.
The Amir/National Coordinator, As-Salam Praying Centre, Nigeria, Ibadan, Oyo State, Sheikh Abdul-Rahman-Adegboyega Lawal, said their discussions should be a continuation of the one that Obama and other leaders had with Buhari at the G-7 Summit in June where they discussed efforts at combating Boko Haram militants.
Sheikh Lawal noted with regret that the Boko Haram insurgents have caused many deaths, destruction of properties and collapse of economic activities in the country, especially the North-East zone.
He therefore said the Supreme Court’s decision of Friday, June 26 to legalise gay marriage across the US in a 5-4 vote, which also overturned same-sex marriage ban in 13 states, was a huge concern to Islamic faithful, who believe marriage should be reserved for man and woman.
According to him, the Supreme Court did not have the authorities to redefine marriage, saying “wedding was created by the One who created man and woman, Almighty Allah (God) and His decisions are not subject to review or revision by any man-made court.”
A scholar and professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religions at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt, Muhammad M. Abu Laylah, said that Islam forbids homosexuality and lesbianism and regards them a violation of the commands of Allah.
He said: “Gay marriage is totally prohibited in Islam as well as in all the divine religions. Gay marriage is an atrocious and obscene act which belongs to unsound nature. Islam teaches that believers should neither do the obscene acts nor in any way indulge in their propagation”.
“In the very beginning, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this act is an ugly sin which Allah forbids in all religions, even in the most primitive ones. It is against the ordinances of Allah and against the law of nature,” he said.
Founder of Imam Soliu Arabic and Islamic Centre, Ilorin, Kwara State, Dr. Sulyman Imam Soliu Al-Aqyqy, noted that the action was nothing other than inviting the wrath of God to the society which may further result into calamities of different kinds like earthquake, flooding, drought among other natural disasters.
“Almighty Allah has designed the welfare of His creatures in the most perfect way and manner and whoever that transgress against His rules will find himself/herself to blame because He o frowns at disobedience,” he said.
Chief Imam of Murtala Central Mosque in Ilorin, Imam Aliyy Kamaldeen, said the decision was against the wills and dictates of Allah, lamenting that America has indeed set a bad precedence for nation-states.
To the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, in the heat of the last general elections, some supporters of the then ruling political party- Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, somewhat invented a speculation to the effect that the world powers-USA and UK have thrown their weight behind Buhari because they were wooing him to support same sex marriage.
The main reason for the international support by both Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron was the so-called secret agreement signed by Buhari to jettison the Nigerian Law against same-sex marriage.
The United States and Britain were in the forefront of the Western powers that were furious at the prospect of Nigeria putting in place such a strict anti-same gender marriage prohibition law but the immediate past federal administration kicked at the overwhelming pressures mounted by these Western leaders.
This show of comradeship and sudden outpourings of solidarity by both United States President and his British counterpart have laid credence to the pre-election rumour that Muhammadu Buhari has an undertaking to repudiate Nigeria ‘s tough stance against same-sex marriage.
Already President Obama, who failed to sell sophisticated weapons to Nigeria to battle Boko Haram terrorists, has agreed to work with the new government and in fact Buhari will visit the White House to meet President Obama in mid July around the 20th and people have started imagining if the recent American Supreme Court’s declaration of same-sex marriage as a human right wouldn’t come up during the parley that would be held between the Nigerian leader and the American President who is a champion of gay marriage.
• CAN, Islamic clerics urge President to shun gay issue at parley