Donald Duke, a former Cross River state governor and currently a 2019 presidential candidate in Nigeria, has said he believes “homosexual conduct” should be illegal. Recall in 2014, Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill (SSMPA) into law. The law forbids any cohabitation between same-sex sexual partners and bans any “public show of same sex amorous relationship.” The SSMPA imposes a 10-year prison sentence on anyone who “registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organization” or “supports” the activities of such organizations. Punishments are severe, ranging from 10 to 14 years in prison.
Meanwhile, Donald Duke – who was recently interviewed On The Couch, a show hosted by Laila Johnson-Salami and Falz the Bahd Guy – made strong statements about LGBTs in Nigeria saying, “I don’t understand their sexuality. But I will not criminalise them. I will ensure that they have the protection of the law.” Reversing his initial statements on air, Duke has released a statement:
Recently, a statement I made during an interview concerning gay rights and homosexuality has been construed as my affirmation of homosexuality and same sex marriage. Nothing is further from the truth. Homosexuality is a crime in Nigeria and ought to remain so. What I however did say is that I would not go seeking homosexuals for prosecution as this is liable to abuses and as such would rather not delve into the sexuality of an individual. For the avoidance of doubt, our law on homosexuality stands in fact and in my moral rectitude.