A new poll has found that 92% of Nigerians are in support of a proposed bill to make same-sex marriages punishable with 14 year prison sentences.
Same-sex relationships are already illegal in Nigeria and the new law means gay couples entering into either marriage or cohabitation could face 14 years each in prison.
The bill also states that “any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations directly or indirectly, makes a public show of a same-sex amorous relationship commits an offence and shall be liable to a term of 10 years imprisonment.”
The poll was conducted by NOI Polls Limited, which works in partnership with the US-based Gallup Polling, and was conducted between 4 and 6 June.
The reason for the support was mainly moral and religious, the poll revealed.
The results of the poll revealed that most respondents were of the opinion that the proposed bill was not an infringement on the human rights of LGBT people, because “homosexuality is not in the Nigerian culture”.
Rashidi Williams, the Director of Nigeria’s Queer Alliance Rights Group told Vanguard: “The Bill takes away the fundamental rights accorded Nigerians under the constitution. This is really, not a pressing national issue.”
The poll was tailored with multiple questions, in order to ascertain the level of awareness the respondents had of the legislation, before asking whether they think it is an infringement on the human rights of LGBT people.
It then asked to what extent the respondent supported or opposed the bill, and to what extent they agreed or disagreed with the claim that homosexuality is “not part of the culture of Nigerians”.
69% of respondents were aware of the legislative vote to ban same-sex marriage, and 85% said they felt strongly that being gay was not part of the country’s culture.
The poll was conducted in such a way, in order to feed into a more general debate around the acceptance of homosexuals in Nigeria.
It remains unclear if President Goodluck Jonathan will sign the bill into law.