The recent Changing Attitude event in Abuja is now reported in the Sunday edition of the New York Times:
Nigerian Anglicans Seeing Gay Challenge to Orthodoxy by Lydia Polgreen. here’s an extract:
…The Anglican debate has largely played out as one between traditional African values and what many people call the decadence of the West. As one Anglican, Chimae Ikegwuru of Port Harcourt, put it: “Homosexuality is a Western thing. In Nigeria we don’t condone it, we don’t tolerate it.”
Nigeria’s gay men and lesbians regularly face harassment and arrest, gay activists here say. The criminal code bans acts “against the order of nature,” and imposes sentences of up to 14 years for those convicted. In practice, gay men are often arrested and jailed until they can bribe their jailers to let them go. In areas of Nigeria that adhere to Islamic law, Shariah, the sentence for homosexual acts is death.
Yet homosexuality is relatively common, particularly in the military, which dominated the country’s politics for decades, said Dare Odumuye, founder of Nigeria’s first gay rights organization, Alliance Rights Nigeria. “It has always been in our culture in Nigeria,” he said.
Still, in a country riven by corruption and strife, and perpetually perched on the edge of chaos, deeply conservative religious beliefs and literal readings of not only the Bible but also the Koran offer certainty and stability otherwise unavailable.
“The Bible and the creeds don’t lend themselves to any variation over time,” said Oluranti Odubogun, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. “They don’t subject themselves to cultural changes. They are guidance given for human existence from age to age.” But that desire for certainty and absolutism has run up against another powerful force, the wider struggle for self-determination, particularly among young people in Africa…