By Colin Coward
The Revd. Colin Coward is the director of Changing Attitude England.
He lives in Wiltshire.
Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, has been the subject of
further intimidation last week. He was visited, when absent from his place
of work, by two men who were identified as Nigerians.
wanted to speak with Davis and withdrew when told he wasn’t there. The same
morning he was telephoned on his private mobile number by a Nigerian who
said: ‘So you are back from your trip to Tanzania’ and then terminated the
protect himself, Mr Mac-Iyalla has withdrawn to a safe location.
believes that members of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) are
increasing their intimidation of him following his presence at the Primates’
meeting in Dar es Salaam and coinciding with progress in Nigeria on the
proposed anti-gay legislation.
threats of violence and intimidation against Mr Mac-Iyalla can only come
from members of the Church of Nigeria and with the approval and
encouragement of the Church.
Attitude believes Mr Mac-Iyalla’s presence in Tanzania has very seriously
angered and disturbed the Nigerian hierarchy. He has shown publicly that
the statements issued about him by the Church are totally untrue.
It is the
deliberate action of the Church of Nigeria, organised we believe from the
centre, that is leading to these further acts of intimidation against Mr
threats are having a devastating effect on the 2,000 members of Changing
Attitude Nigeria in their 8 diocesan groups. They are very scared for Davis
Mac-Iyalla’s safety and feel worried and intimidated themselves. The
threats are having an effect which is no doubt intended by the Church to
silence and ultimately eradicate their lesbian, gay, bisexual and
meeting with Mr Mac-Iyalla at the White Sands Hotel in Dar es Salaam,
Archbishop Peter Akinola confirmed that Davis is a member of the Church of
Nigeria whom he had met on several occasions when Davis was serving the
Bishop of Otukpo.
Archbishop Akinola did not at any moment suggest that Davis was a criminal
who is being sought by the church and police in Nigeria on charges of theft.
The meeting was witnessed by Bishop Martyn Minns and Canons David Anderson
and Chris Sugden.
Attitude England and Nigeria challenge the Primate of All Nigeria, the Most
Revd Peter Akinola, and the CANA bishop in the USA, the Rt. Revd. Martyn
Minns, to issue a statement denouncing those church members who are
both the Archbishop and Bishop to unreservedly demand protection for Mr Mac-Iyalla
and confirm the sanctity of all human life, whatever a person’s sexual
orientation, in conformity with the Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution 1.10
and paragraph 146 of the Windsor report which states that ‘any demonising of
homosexual persons, or their ill treatment, is totally against Christian
charity and basic principles of pastoral care.’
intolerable that no Nigerian Bishop or Archbishop has issued a statement
condemning the threats of violence and intimidation against Mr Mac-Iyalla.
silence, they are tacitly showing approval for those members of the Church
of Nigeria who believe they have the blessing of their church to abuse
another Anglican and threaten to commit murder by drenching him in acid.
Archbishop Akinola and Bishop Martyn Minns are now implicated in the deep
and destructive prejudice shown towards lesbian and gay people in Nigeria,
characterised by the threats against Davis Mac-Iyalla and the Church of
Nigeria‘s support for the proposed anti-gay legislation.
In Dar es
Salaam, in front of Canon David Anderson and Canon Chris Sugden, I asked
Bishop Minns to contact Canon Akintunde Popoola and tell him to cease
issuing lies and false statements about Davis.
statements have encouraged Nigerian church members to visit Mr Mac-Iyalla
and threaten him with death. I have not yet received confirmation from
Bishop Minns that he has done this, nor that such assurances have been
now urgent. Mr Mac-Iyalla has been forced into hiding yet again.
Primatial and Episcopal leaders of the Church of Nigeria are acting with
blind disregard for the safety of one of their own church members. They are
deliberately supporting a bill which contravenes basic human rights and
justice and renders the listening process impossible in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the “anti-gay” Bill continues to progress through the Senate of
the Nigerian Parliament. It has gone through its ‘second reading’ and has
now been referred to the Senate Committee on Human Rights.
Speculation is rife that the bill
would be passed soon, before the Parliament winds up in about two weeks,
prior to next month’s General Election.
“Most of us at the Human Rights
Coalition are worried and wondering how the bill got to the Senate less than
a week after a Public Hearing was held by the Lower House,” said one
Nigerian LGBT activist in an email from inside Nigeria.
“Normally the Lower House approves
a Bill before it is sent to the Senate for consideration. There is no doubt
that all this rushing and short cutting are all in the effort by the
Nigerian Government to ensure that the draconian bill becomes a law.
“So it is clear that Nigeria is
about to make a legislative mistake. The Nigerian government is on the
verge of putting into place a legislation that will ridicule its democracy
and human rights obligations. Yes Africa’s most populous nation is on the
fast to making homophobia a state policy.”
■ The Nigerian Government is being
urged by groups ranging from the United Nations to Amnesty International not
to rush into passing this Bill without adequate consultations and
discussions on the human rights implications.
If passed, the Bill would not only
ban ‘gay marriage’ but would also make it technically illegal for anyone to
have any form of same-sex relationship, to visit a gay website and other
Four independent UN experts
reported last month that the Bill, if passed, could force gay men and women
further ‘underground’ and even weaken efforts to educate people about
HIV/Aids and it prevention.
National Assembly Advances Draconian Anti-Gay Bill. By Rex
The Women Affairs and Youth
Committee of Nigeria's House of Representatives held a hearing on February.
14 on an extreme antigay bill that some activists had believed was not going
to see any action. (UK Gay News, February 28, 2007)
Oppose Proposed Nigerian Ban on Gays.
Voicing serious concern over a
proposed Nigerian bill which would effectively outlaw same-sex
relationships, four independent United Nations experts have said it would violate international human rights norms, and
urged the Government to withdraw it immediately.
(UK Gay News, February 25,
Jeered for Supporting Gay Rights at Nigerian Public Hearing.
A Nigerian Humanist was repeatedly jeered in Abuja last week during his
statement opposing the proposed new anti-gay legislation in Nigeria, the Gay
and Lesbian Humanist Association revealed last night. (UK Gay News,
February 19, 2007)
Report: Gay Nigerians Respond to Same-Sex Prohibition Act.
Nigerian lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgenders speak out against a
proposed law in a new report by the International Gay and Lesbian Human
Rights Commission (IGLHRC).
(UK Gay News, February 18, 2007)
Gay Rights Intergroup Concerned By Draft Nigerian Law. The
controversial draft law that is currently going through the Nigerian
legislative process would violate basic human rights, the European
Parliament’s ‘Intergroup’ on gay and lesbian rights reiterated today.
(UK Gay News, February
Christian Gay Group Meets Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola. Davis Mac-Iyalla,
director of the Christian gay group Changing Attitude Nigeria, briefly met
Archbishop Peter Akinola, Primate of All Nigeria, today.
(UK Gay News, February
Christian Group Appeals to Anglican Primates. A group of
gay Christians in Nigeria has written an open letter to the Archbishops of
the world-wide Anglican Communion on the eve of the debate in the Nigerian
Parliament of a draconian Bill to ban same-sex relationships.
(UK Gay News, February
Posted: 6 March 2007 at
15:30 (UK time)