As President Muhammadu Buhari prepares to meet with his United States counterpart, Barack Obama, in the White House next Monday, the US government is expected to make another case asking the Nigerian government to repeal its law against same-sex unions.
Making this known Monday, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, stated that the US would continue to pressure Nigeria until it legalises same-sex marriage.
According to the Nigerian Pilot, Thomas-Greenfield revealed America’s plans yesterday during a live-web chat with journalists in Washington DC.
US recently legalised gay marriage, a development, which sparked off mixed reactions across the globe.
Thomas-Greenfield, who said the US had adopted the protection of the rights of same-sex people as part of its foreign policies, vowed that Washington would continue to mount and sustain pressure on Nigeria and other countries to reverse their laws against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) community.
She said: “As a government, it is one of the highest priorities and strongest values that discrimination against anyone based on their sexual orientation and gender identity is wrong. We believe human rights should be available to everybody.
“As a policy, we will continue to press the government of Nigeria, as well as other governments which have provided legislation that discriminate against the LGBT community.”
Thomas-Greenfield, who did not agree that pressuring Nigeria to reverse the anti-gay law amounted to interference, said Nigeria and Uganda have the hardest legislation on the gay community.
She said: “This is very much a work in progress, but I think you will agree with me that the law in Nigeria really went far in discriminating against this community but also people who associate with them. So, we will continue to press the government, to press the legislature to change these laws and provide human rights for all Nigerian people regardless of their sexual orientation.”
Thomas-Greenfield was optimistic that the US would win the fight to protect the LGBT community.
She continued: “With what is happening in the US, you can determine how far we are willing to go. We strongly believe human rights for all people and we are particularly opposed to legislation that actually targets the gay community for discrimination.
“So we are prepared to push this as a policy, not just in Africa but across the world.”