The reality of the intentions of the new United States administration was beginning to dawn on Nigerians on Tuesday after President Joe Biden issued a tough proclamation to expand and protect homosexual and other similar acts grouped as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) worldwide. Biden’s memo on homosexual rights hits Nigeria especially.
Nigeria is in special focus on account of the country’s conservative culture and laws that forbid such acts.
President Goodluck Jonathan had against worldwide pressures including reportedly from the Barack Obama administration signed a law that criminalized homosexual conduct in the country.
Biden was vice-president in that government and Jonathan’s inclination was reportedly one of the issues that made him to be disfavoured by the Obama administration.
Biden’s memo on homosexual rights which hits Nigeria reads:
“When foreign governments move to restrict the rights of LGBTQI+ persons or fail to enforce legal protections in place, thereby contributing to a climate of intolerance, agencies engaged abroad shall consider appropriate responses, including using the full range of diplomatic and assistance tools and, as appropriate, financial sanctions, visa restrictions, and other actions.”
“All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or whom they love,” said the memorandum, building on a 2011 directive issued when Biden was serving as vice president.
“The United States belongs at the forefront of this struggle – speaking out and standing strong for our most dearly held values.”
Under Biden’s memo on homosexual rights which hits Nigeria, US government agencies working in foreign countries would fight the criminalization by foreign sovereign governments of homosexual conduct.
The memo envisages also that asylum seekers who are homosexuals have their applications expedited for resettlement.
It would also require US government to apply diplomatic pressure including financial weapons to tackle foreign governments that are perceived by the US administration as being repressive of homosexual rights.
Biden had in an interview given his inclination towards this development saying:
“To further repair our moral leadership, I’m also issuing a presidential memo to agencies to reinvigorate our leadership on the LGBTQI issues and do it internationally.”