Nigerians are a special breed of people. Many of them are hypocrites. Too many are pretenders too. And too many are a danger to themselves and to the society they live in. Millions are enablers of bad and terrible things.
Here, we have a people who will not hesitate to lynch a common thief for stealing N5,000 or even less; yet, will act indifferently to public servants who steal N50m or more. Who should be lynched? Those who committed misdemeanour or those who committed felony? Too many times, we punish the aggrieved and reward the offenders.
We have men in their 40s, 50s and 60s who have had, and continue to have, carnal knowledge of underage girls, yet we do nothing about such crimes. Year after year, thousands of primary and secondary schools girls vacate school because of pregnancy; yet, the government does not take judicial action against the male offenders. In the name of religion and or culture, we violate the human and civil rights of women – especially if they are poor and uneducated. We keep silent about the injustices we mete out to girls and women.
And then there is the question of priority: Too many times, we ignore the things we absolutely should care about, but then throw resources at things we otherwise should ignore. In this case, a good example would be the debate and the legislation on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Now, which is more deserving of our attention: Two consenting adults engaged in private sexual activities in the privacy of their homes, or the politicians who, on a daily basis, have been milking the country dry?
To what should we devote our collective resources: Our dilapidating schools, bridges and hospitals, or to the private affairs of private individuals who are not sexually violating our young boys and girls? It seems odd and senseless and irrational that we would worry ourselves to death over the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Really, every Nigerian should take a break; take a breather over the LGBT community. They are not sick. They are not perverts. They are not freaks. They are not deficient in any shape or form. And if there is hell, they certainly will not be the first in line. Look in the corridors of power for hell mates.
Their sexual orientation or sexual preference is not contagious. It is not because homosexuality is not a contagion. The LGBT community is as normal as normal can be. They are as normal as the heterosexual community. Maybe, more normal! In Western societies such as Canada, Australia New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, sexual crimes are mostly staples of the Heterosexual enclave. And we know that members of the LGBT community are NOT noted for being serial-rapists and paedophiles. Instead, the community is known for being kind and gregarious and outgoing. One wouldn’t know this if one listened to Senator David Mark all day and all night. Sad, isn’t it?
Mark and the Senate he presides over want to send “offending” member of the LGBT community to 14 years in prison. Wow! Is he serious? Is the Senate serious? And is President Goodluck Jonathan going to sign such an oppressive bill? Where is justice? Damn! Why would the courts send anyone to 14 long years for private sexual acts that do not infringe on the nation’s national security? Fourteen years just for loving someone of the same sex? Shouldn’t such prison terms be reserved for thieving and corrupt public servants?
Again, I return to the hypocrisy and ignorance of Nigerians and of other Africans. What many fail to realise, or refuse to acknowledge, is that homosexual and bisexual predispositions and practices were present in all human societies, and have been part of the human experience since the beginning of civilisations. From the Greeks to the Romans, and from Mesopotamia to the Ottomans to Ancient Egypt, it was present. It was also present in the Peruvian, Japanese and Chinese societies. The records are there for all to see. Anthropological and historical records also indicate that homosexuality and bisexuality were present in pre-colonial Africa. It was!
One of the most enduring myths that are rampant within the African continent is the idea that these normal human behaviours were introduced to the African continent by the Europeans and by the Arabs. This is patently false! For untold generations, Africans had practised levirate, sororate, polygyny and plural marriages. They practise female genital mutilation (also known as female circumcision). They also engaged in homosexual activities — even if known by different designations.
If some Africans now want to verbally condemn such practices, perhaps; but do not stone, shame, harass, beat or kill those who engage in such practices. My goodness, we are not talking about human sacrifice, here. We are not talking about honour killings and revenge killings and self-immolations. No! We are not talking about drinking animal or human blood or nailing people to the cross. No! And we certainly are not talking about rape, adultery, and incest. No!
According to Justice Sarpong, a Ghanaian journalist,“Gender-crossing homosexuality has been discussed as common in the (Nigerian) Hausa bori cult (and in Afro-Brazilian offshoots of West African spirit-possession religion). Among the Maale of southern Ethiopia, some males crossed over to feminine roles. Called ashtime, these (biological) males dressed as women, performed female tasks, cared for their own houses, and apparently had sexual relations with men.”
Same-sex affection and relationships should be the least of humanity’s headaches. And especially in Africa, it should be the last thing we should concern ourselves with. We have genuine calamities and iniquities and inhumanities to worry about. For Mark and his colleagues at the Senate to introduce such draconian law? How senseless could such a move be? Shouldn’t these Senators be worrying about the state of insecurity and about the failed-state status of Nigeria? Or, most oddly, the rot in the nation’s police colleges which they were supposed to have carried out a series of oversight functions on over the years?