The Horrifying Situation in Nigeria

Reading this New York Times article about the dangerous and barbaric attacks on gay people in Nigeria after President Goodluck Jonathan signed a brutal new anti-gay bill into law makes me glad that Yemisi Ilesanmi is safely in the UK. I’m sure she has many friends back home, however, and their lives are very much in danger.

Rights advocates say they have recorded arrests in multiple Nigerian states, but the country’s north has experienced the toughest crackdown. Mr. Jonathan’s national ban has redoubled the zeal against gay people here and elsewhere, according to officials and residents in Bauchi, where Shariah law prevails and green-uniformed Hisbah, or Islamic police officers, search for what is considered immoral under Islam.

“It’s reawakened interest in communities to ‘sanitize,’ more or less, to talk about ‘moral sanitization,’ ” Dorothy Aken’Ova, executive director of Nigeria’s International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights, said of the law. “Where it was quiet before, it’s gotten people thinking, ‘Who is behaving in a manner that may be gay?’ It’s driven people into the closet.”

Officials here in Bauchi say they want to root out, imprison and punish gays. Local lawyers are reluctant to represent them. Bail was refused to the gay people already jailed because it was “in the best interests of the accused,” said the chief prosecutor, Dawood Mohammed. In the streets, furious citizens say they are ready to take the law into their own hands to combat homosexuality.

Officials are also inflamed. “It is detestable,” said Mohammed Tata, a senior official with the Shariah Commission here, which controls the Hisbah. He added: “This thing is an abomination.”

Complaining of the difficulty in distinguishing gay people from others, Mr. Tata said: “They don’t do it in the open. You get one or two, you see how they speak, you see how they dress, then you might have reasonable grounds to suspect.” Mr. Tata, speaking in the whitewashed two-story Shariah Commission headquarters here, said that happily, “we get information from sources interested in seeing the society cleansed.”

To hell with Godwin, this is exactly the language used by the Nazis in rounding up Jews, gays, gypsies and others during the Third Reich.

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  • Pierce R. Butler

    When the teabaggers get tired of enthusing about Putin’s Russia, will they all want to move to Nigeria?

  • Modusoperandi

    Pierce R. Butler “When the teabaggers get tired of enthusing about Putin’s Russia, will they all want to move to Nigeria?”

    Sure, but on the other hand Nigeria’s full of “urban” people (*wink wink*), and there’s gonna be trouble the first time they pronounce the country’s name wrong.

  • gorgias

    Hey, some Godwins have to be dropped.

  • gorgias

    After all, if you can’t make Nazi comparisons when people are being rounded up and slaughtered, when can you?

  • d.c.wilson

    “we get information from sources interested in seeing the society cleansed.”

    So, if you have a grudge against your neighbor, just tell the local authorities that they’re gay. There’s no way that could just spiral out of control, right?

  • corporal klinger

    I really don’t like it when people throw nazi around casually, like in “grammar nazi”, but in this case (as in many others) it’s more than aproppiate; Nazi is who Nazi does.

    And then they say I love my dog more than humans………….

  • jnorris

    At least The Gays in America are safe because the Talibangelicals and their Christian minions in the Tea Party don’t want no part of no Sharia law here. No sir!

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