The Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh, has condemned homosexuality and gay marriage, saying they are evil and works of the devil that must not be allowed to exist in Nigerian society.
Okoh spoke yesterday (3 March) during a service and the ordination of three Anglican Bishops saying: ‘You are already aware of the evil wind blowing across the Western world, by way of the homosexual agenda.
‘They want to push it down everybody’s throat. And as far as they are concerned, it is a matter of human right. But God’s right is not discussed.
‘I want to say that you have a responsibility to this church, not to allow any influence from any quarters to corrupt our church’.
‘The Biblical understanding of marriage will continue to be the basis of our teaching; we will not change that position. So… please, resist the Devil and all his works, and he will flee from you.
‘I want to encourage our clergy, particularly those of you who have attachment with the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe and America, don’t bring that influence in here’.
‘The basics of Jesus Christ will continue to be our teachings and we will not depart from it….The basics of Christian marriage is between man and woman’.
LGBT rights campaigners criticized Okoh for sirring up anti-gay hate.
Adebisi Alimi, a Nigerian LGBT rights advocate told Gay Star News: ‘It is very obvious that Okoh is not only vowing for power within the church, but also sowing the seeds of hatred and unsolicited victimisation of vulnerable LGBT people in Nigeria.
‘What Nigerians need from someone like Okoh is to preach the gospel of love and not one that instigate hates.
‘In is in this spirit and during the month of Lent that we, LGBT Nigerians, hope he will use this period to call on the National Assembly in Nigeria to bin the Anti Same Sex bill.
‘This bill has become a replacement for political accountability and I hope our religious leaders will not allow themselves to be seen as collaborators of corrupt politicians’.
Veteran British human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, has criticised the Primate, saying: ‘Okoh is preaching a false, unchristian gospel. The Christian gospel is one of love and compassion. It is not consistent with homophobic prejudice’.
‘The Primate supports Nigeria’s discriminatory anti-gay laws. Discrimination is not a Christian value.
‘The Anglican church of Nigeria should welcome loving, committed same-sex couples into its communion. It should cease supporting the persecution of gay people in Nigeria.
‘I am not asking Okoh to approve of homosexuality but I do ask him to stop vilifying gay Nigerians. He should support the decriminalisation of homosexuality and speak out against the anti-gay bill that is currently before the Nigerian Parliament, the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill’.
Homosexuality is illegal in the federal system of Nigeria and is punished in different states in varying degrees of severity with up to 14 years of imprisonment in most states, while in northern states punishments include flogging and death by stoning.
Two months ago he president of the Nigerian senate, David Mark, has insisted that a planned bill prohibiting same sex marriage and jailing all gay people and anyone who fails to report LGBT people to the authorities, will become law despite international pressure.
The bill also stipulates 10 years imprisonment punishment for participating or organizing any form of gay related activities, including advocacy or clubs.