The president of Nigeria has signed a new bill, shrouded in secrecy that outlaws homosexuality.

• Law criminalises homosexuality
• Punishment includes prison tariff up to 14 years.
• Law does not allow gay clubs, associations or organisations.

A step in the wrong direction for Nigerian LGBT people, as the Country’s President signs into law a bill that will make being gay in the African country a near impossibility, the telegraph is reporting

Associated Press obtained a copy of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which was signed by President Goodluck on the 7th January. However, no official announcement was made that the law had been signed.

The law has made it illegal for gay people to hold meetings, run LGBT organisations, associations and clubs.

Nigeria is still part of the Commonwealth. Last year Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II signed a charter that opposed all forms of discrimination.

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TheGayUK has contacted the Commonwealth for comment.

British human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, has been campaigning with Nigerians against the Bill. He commented:

‘This is a tragic day for human rights in Nigeria. Signing the Bill is a backward step that gravely intensifies the already existing harsh anti-gay laws in Nigeria. These laws were originally imposed by the British during the period of colonial rule in the nineteenth century.

‘The legislation outlaws the hosting, participation or witnessing of a same-sex marriage or civil union. It also criminalises LGBT organisations and advocacy groups, support for gay organisations and events, and public expressions of same-sex affection. This makes it one of the most draconian homophobic laws in the world.

‘The Bill violates the equality and non-discrimination clause of the Nigerian constitution (Article 42), the Commonwealth Charter and Articles 2 and 3 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, which Nigeria has signed and pledged to uphold.

‘This law is symptomatic of the many human rights abuses that prevail in Nigeria and which all Nigerians – LGBT and straight – have a common interest in overturning.’