By Abujah Racheal
Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, says homosexuality is “veritably poisoning” the Nigerian society.
Okoh told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the unlawful act was being fed by “disintegration of social values and cultures.’’
He blamed the development on the influence of western culture facilitated by the internet and satellite broadcasting.
“Homosexuality hinders the progress of a nation and such ungodly images should never be shown in Nigeria.
“It is pertinent to note that the advent of satellite broadcasting has continued to pose a serious challenge to our traditional cultures, religious values and our identity as a people.
“Our youths are now being deceived by the international media with values that are at variance with our culture and the teachings of our religion,” he said.
NAN recalls that homosexuality was outlawed during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan through the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) of 2014.
SSMPA bans gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of gay rights groups and prescribes penalties of up to 14 years in prison.
During a four-day official visit to the United States in July 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari affirmed his administration’s concurrence with the law.
He ruled out any chance of Nigeria being pressured by America or other Western powers into legalising homosexuality in the country.
Since then, many have gone on trial for alleged involvement in homosexuality.
There is, however, a growing acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the country, according to a 2017 survey by NOI Polls.
The survey, which compared attitudes towards LGBT people in Nigeria against a 2015 poll, showed a seven per cent increase in their acceptance.
It also found a nine per cent rise to 39 per cent of those surveyed who think that LGBT people should be allowed equal access to health care, education and housing.
But Okoh said: “What is happening in the Nigerian society is a result of international influence and urbanisation.
“As people move from villages to the cities, they are detached from their ancestral authority, parents, chiefs and others.
“Anti-social behaviours that used to be tackled are no longer tackled all because of modernisation; essentially, people are destroying themselves,” he said.
The primate urged Nigerians to imbibe the values of their traditional culture in the interest of future generations.