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Nigerian humanist Leo Igwe acknowledges that gay rights are human rights

Leo Igwe a Nigerian human rights activist and humanist have in his recent article kicked against the widespread notion that the rights of homosexuals are not human rights and that homosexuality is unAfrican.

Leo Igwe. Photo credits:

“Many nations in Sub-Saharan Africa have moved to tighten laws against homosexuality. They presented gay sex as antithetical to the African essence, hence the statement that homosexuality is unAfrican” The article stated.

The article which appeared on the Observer, further revealed strong concerns pointing out that people mostly used their religion to discriminate against homosexuals.

“Too often religion, culture, and tradition have been used to legitimise hatred and discrimination against homosexuals. God, Allah and other constructs of this imaginary asexual entity have been invoked to sanctify opposition to the human rights of gay persons.

Igwe, questioned the legitimacy and authenticity of religious texts and the so-called ‘Holy Books’. Explaining that people should be aware that all available religious books today were written by human beings whose identities and intents have remained unknown up till date.

“Texts that were written by human beings centuries and millennia ago but which clerics and preachers, godmen and women, theologians and faithful scholars have refused to disclose their true authors and intent have been used to justify norms that are spiteful of human rights of women, children, and minorities.

He also encouraged the need for critical thinking especially in Africa where people are mostly misled by religious leaders with dubious motives.

“A process of change motivated by humanity and critical thinking has become urgent. Such a process is an imperative for sociocultural renewal and rebirth in Africa.

In conclusion, Igwe disclosed what he has been doing with the humanist movement in Nigeria, and its impact so far.

“And to this end, the humanist movement has convened meetings and conferences to highlight the dangers and destructive effects of superstitions and irrational beliefs. There have been gatherings where the challenges to eradicating Osu caste discrimination were discussed. Campaigns to raise awareness of ritual killing, witch persecution, and religious extremism have been organised. Marches and protests have been staged to mobilise and conscientise the public, and lobby politicians and lawmakers against homophobic laws, or policies that violate the reproductive rights of women. Petitions have been sent to local, state and regional governments in furtherance of policy change and revision.

“These efforts have yielded piecemeal developments, support for victims of caste discrimination, ritual killing, witch persecution and religious fanaticism. These developments still fall short of the revolutionary outcomes and changes which are expected when critical thinking, not dogma or blind faith, becomes the driving force and the defining canon of resistance, and the realisation of social change in Africa.

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  • comment-avatar
    Andrew 6 years

    The man speaks with wisdom and truth, but it is extremely hard to wipe out ignorance when the people are so uneducated to think for themselves against religious leaders who promise paradise in an after life to relieve the misery of their life on earth. The people fail to realize these clerics, pastors are human beings as they are and if they loose their power, they wouldn’t have any way to survive and live their life of luxury most of them do, while the people suffer through poverty….. Even educated political leaders of the Government join in as well and their motive is to hold power over the people as well. Education and science can debuke these leaders words and believe, if only people can open their minds and the way to do that is education of proven science and historical religious information.

  • comment-avatar
    Dreamworks 6 years

    Homosexual life is simply unafrican.Its in Africa that we torture bad spirits through prayers and deliver our people.
    You have not said if you are in the closet but it’s clear you are not practising any known religion that people know who worshippers are.
    You should not have been born if all were gay.

    • comment-avatar
      John Adewoye 6 years

      Are all created black, brown or white?
      Are all born tall or short?
      Are all born to speak one language?
      Are all created ignorant or wise?
      Are all born rich or poor?
      Are all born into one geographical zone?
      Are all created one gender?
      Are all born gullible or inquisitive?
      Except the narrow minded.

  • comment-avatar
    Sam 6 years

    I have never in my 75 years of life on this earth, seen any gay person been delivered through prayers, or Conversion Therapy as was tried in more developed countries who have more scientific exploration on human genetic’s and sexuality. It is not done, and those who have said they were healed or delivered from homosexuality, were in denial and wanted to be believed and accepted. Later on as time went by, these healed, and said they were delivered, were caught sneaking around still expressing the sexuality they were born with. You can say anything you would like, but there is no proof on record of anyone being delivered through prayer, witchcraft or any other type of voodoo therapy.. It is a gene you were born with and unless you can alter or manipulate the genes, homosexuality will always be with us. Through out history, before biblical days, there was homosexuality, and who that says it was not African as denying reality. Just because so many fear being outed, discriminated against, beaten, imprisoned or killed, doesn’t mean it does not exist because of fear. All one has to do is to go to gay social sites and look at the hundreds of thousands African’s there searching to talk to another gay person and experience a same sex relationship to fulfill this desire that is natural to them.. Keep denying, but that does not make it factual and true, just represses gay people more into the closet who will not admit it.

  • comment-avatar
    Kando 6 years

    I completely agree, that gays are humans just like the so called majority (heterosexuals) and as such they deserve a free life devoid of hate, stigma and discrimination. I am hopeful change will come.

  • comment-avatar
    Maazo 6 years

    Only if the world rises up and holds government’s accountable for human rights for all people, will things change. Hearts and minds must be educated also to bring change, and religion must be challenged as well.

  • comment-avatar
    Davison Odason 6 years

    their is nothing to do about it, and is not their fort. It stated from the bible when the God sent some handsome men in the world during the time of Neoh, it’s occurred that some people from that country wanted to sleep with them. So my question is ” is God not their”. to crown it all, all men’s are gay.

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