The Nigerian Senate has passed a controversial bill which would make same-sex marriage a serious crime while banning all advocacy and support for LGBTI people – putting at risk hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid.
The law would see same-sex couples who married jailed for up to 14 years, while anyone who aided or abetted in the wedding could be jailed for up to 10.
In doing so, Nigeria is staring down threats to withhold foreign aid when 95 percent of its HIV medicines are paid for by foreign donors.
HIV/AIDS organisations working with at risk communities in Nigeria fear the law will potentially criminalise their work.
“We work with them trying to reduce their risk factors, trying to make them more healthy and have safer sex practices,” Meyiwa Ede of the Society for Family Health told news media, “If we can’t work with them anymore, then they are vulnerable.”
Homosexuality is already punishable with up to 14 years imprisonment throughout Nigeria, and by 100 lashes for unmarried men or death by stoning for married or divorced men in its twelve majority Muslim northern states that have introduced sharia law.