Dr. Tafida Tells UK not to impose gay rights on Nigeria

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Dr. Tafida has urged Britain to stop pressuring Nigeria to abrogate its laws on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT), saying that the move amounted to “stretching human rights to the very heart of culture pressure”.

Speaking on Nigeria-UK relations at Chatham House in London on Thursday, Dr Tafida said the emerging trend that looks at human rights as a universal phenomenon must recognise and respect people’s cultural patterns and differences, instead of trying to impose them blindly on everyone. He explained that it would not be acceptable if Nigeria, which recognises polygamy were to impose the culture on the UK which prohibits it, just as it would be unacceptable for the UK to impose gay rights on Nigeria, which has legislated against same sex marriages.

He said the “no go areas” of countries on such issues must be respected “lest it becomes an unnecessary irritant in an otherwise excellent relations”.

The high commissioner also frowned at what he described as “British attitude to Nigerians” in which Nigerians are not only labelled as “high risk” but also become the first suspects by the British law enforcement agencies in “virtually all known vices that may be plaguing the streets of London”.

“The situation gets even worse with every down-turn in the economic situation in Britain where Nigerians and other foreigners are made scapegoats. The situation becomes more xenophobic when they are accused of taking jobs from Britons”. Other areas in which Nigerians are discriminated against, according to Dr Tafida, include making Nigerians student deposit huge sums of money in UK banks before they could be given visas, denial of entry at UK ports, and deportations on flimsy grounds, often without contacting the high commission.

Dr Tafida also called on the British media to desist from “unfair and unprofessional practice” of negative reportage on Nigeria, pointing out that the “sensational and exaggerated reports loaded with stereotypes create negative publicity that could be injurious to a robust bilateral relations”.

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