One of Nigeria’s leading candidates for next year’s national elections has back tracked on comments he made about the country’s gay population, saying he agrees that homosexuality should remain illegal
Speaking on the YouTube talk show, On The Couch, Donald Duke promised he would not crimanlize homosexuality if he won the election.
The former Cross River state governor said he did not understand the ‘feelings’ gay people had, but he would not criminalize them.
‘I don’t understand the emotional feelings a gay person would have toward someone of their sexuality. I don’t understand it. But I would not criminalise them. I would ensure that they have the protection of the law,’ he told hosts Falz and Laila.
But Duke who is very popular with young voters took to Instagram to clarify his thoughts on the matter.
‘Recently, a statement I made during an interview concerning gay rights and homosexuality has been construed as my affirmation of my homosexuality and same sex marriage. Nothing is further from the truth,’ he wrote.
‘Homosexuality is a crime in Nigeria and ought to remain so.
‘What I however did say is that I would not go seeking homosexual for prosecution as this is liable to abuses and as such would rather not delve into the sexuality of an individual. For the avoidance of doubt our law on homosexuality stand in fact and in my moral rectitude.’
Gay persecution in Nigeria
The penalty for homosexuality in Nigeria carries a jail term of up to 14 years. Police regularly target and persecute the LGBTI community, even this week, police raided a party arresting 57 men on suspicion of being gay.
Unsurprisingly, many of the comments on Duke’s post supported his stance.
‘But, Homosexual activities has and should never have a place in Nigeria. It should be treated as Criminal as Possible (sic),’ wrote one Instagram user.
‘Sir, you have to Criminalize Gays when you become President next year. We will always be behind you. Right now, behind to push you forward to succeed, but if you disappoint us, we will still be behind to push you over the ledge. Needless to say, I believe in you and your vision for Nigeria. Good luck sir.’
Nigerians will head to the polls in February, 2019.