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Wole Soyinka Finds Nigeria’s Anti-Gay Bill to be Little More than “Legislative Fascism”

In an article for, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka recently condemned the Nigerian government for being distracted by issues that he believes should remain between two consenting adults. According to Soyinka, the Anti-Gay Bill that the Nigerian legislature passed is just one of the things that it should not be wasting its time with, seeing as the government has so far failed to implement even basic infrastructure in this country of many millions.

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He also urged the legislature to look at sexual practice and same-sex marriage as two separate issues and not to conflate them. Soyinka advised the legislators to learn more about the scientific studies on homosexuality before they make decisions and formulate laws based on what they believe to be “morality” and its attendant emotions, rather than objectivity and empirical evidence.

In the article he also urges “foreign interventionists” to “exercise a sense of proportion” as he believes much of the finger-pointing and warnings of withdrawal of aid to be hypocritical.

Let us go back a little, nearly a year ago, to that earlier attempt to interfere in, and legislate on sexual conduct between consenting adults. Profiting from that experience, I would like to caution – yet again – that it is high time we learnt to ignore what we conveniently designate and react to as ‘foreign interference’. By now, we should be able to restrict ourselves to the a priori position that, as rational beings, we make pronouncements on choices of ethical directions from our own collective and/or majority will, independent of what is described as ‘external dictation’. The noisome emissions that surged from a handful of foreign governments last year should not be permitted to obscure the fundamental issue of the right to private choices of the free, adult citizen in any land – Asian, African, European etc. Those external responses were of such a nature – hysterical, hypocritical and disproportionate – that, speaking for myself at least, I could only wonder if they had not been generated by a desperate need for distraction away from the economic crisis that confronted, at that very time, those parts of the world.

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