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Gay-Marriage Law: US threatens to sanction Nigeria

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Obama Vs JonathanLeading western countries piled pressure on the Federal government recently, following President Goodluck Jonathan’s signing of the Same-Sex Prohibition Act 2014. The latest country is the United States of America, whose Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle threatened that the United States will scale down its support for HIV/AIDS and anti-malaria programmes in response to the Federal Government’s position on the gay rights issue.

Member countries of the European Union and Canada have expressed their objection to the law but United States Ambassador to Nigeria said he was worried about “the implications of the anti-same sex marriage law which seems to restrict the fundamental rights of a section of the Nigerian population.”

This came as a former Nigerian Ambassador to US, Dahiru Suleiman, yesterday, described homosexuality and lesbianism as “animalistic and degrading to humanity.”

In the same vein, recently, Christians in the northern part of Nigeria under the aegis of Christian Association of Nigeria in the 19 northern states an Abuja,  hailed President Goodluck Jonathan for signing into law the anti-gay bill, urging him to ignore criticisms from Western nations, saying all religions in the country are united in their condemnation of same-sex marriage.

In a reaction to the recent move of government to outlaw homosexuality from this country, the Public Relations Officer of Northern CAN, Elder Sunday Oibe told Vanguard that Christians from the North and their counterparts in other religions have unanimously expressed gratitude to the president and the National Assembly for passing the Anti-Same Sex Marriage despite opposition from Europe and the US.

Speaking to news men in Abuja, yesterday, the American envoy said his interpretation of the new law was that “it could negatively affect the nation’s fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic”. Although the US envoy denied that his country plans to impose sanctions on Nigeria, he said:  “We and other donors are looking at the issue of funding for HIV/AIDS. As you know, we put millions of dollars in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“Although I am not a lawyer, I read the bill and it seems to me that it may put some restrictions on what we can do to help fight HIV/AIDS in this country. These are the issues we are looking at as we consider the law.”

The signing of the Same sex Prohibition Act by President Jonathan on January 7, 2014 has provoked negative reactions from member countries of EU, Canada and now the United States all of whom have alleged that the law is a violation of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians with same sex orientation.

Ambassador Entwistle said he was aware that “the issue of same-sex marriage was very controversial all over the world, including within  the United States where 17 states out of 50 had endorsed it, but others still reject its legality”. According to him, “the issue that we see and I am speaking as a friend of Nigeria is that as I read the bill, it looks to me that it puts significant restrictions on the freedoms of assembly and expression; in my opinion which applies especially in advanced democracies, once government begins to say something in these areas, freedom no longer applies. It seems to me that this is a very worrisome precedent.”

Anti-gay diplomacy
A lecturer at Covenant University, Professor Kayode Soremekun said: “What is happening demonstrates the low level that the US treats its relation with Nigeria”.

He said every Nigerian should feel insulted that the US is threatening to stop assisting us on areas where we have the resources and human capacity to contend.

Said Professor Soremekun, “even when the West had their misgivings about Russia’s anti-gay law, they have not gone threatening them with sanctions and punitive action. We are not reckoned with in the international arena where we are getting assistance for HIV/AIDS, Malaria treatment drugs, polio virus crusade among other mundane issues”.

He continued:”Nigeria is still a conservative society and the anti-gay law has united the ruling class and Nigerians outside government at this level of our national development. The US and its EU partners should be discussing serious issues; the leadership showed pro-activeness in trying to save the society from getting exposed to practices that are antithetical to our culture.

“We should be focussing on the items on the Bi-National Commission between both countries, but these threats show that we are nonentity in global arena. When the US is discussing with Iran on nuclear issues, they are threatening us on mundane issues”.

According to  Soremekun, “we should be able to make the US and its EU allies realize that they cannot go to China to dictate their laws. China is still a communist country and they are falling over themselves to go to China and do business. We should make them realize what General Abacha did when he opened the door  to China and Asian countries in the 1990s.”

Propaganda war
Vanguard learnt that the US is committing “substantial” resources to fund the emergence of gay clubs and advocacy groups across Nigeria.

The Canadian Government had cancelled a planned state visit by President Jonathan which had been scheduled for next month. The Canadian government’s action which came within a week after the bill was signed into law is widely believed to be that country’s reaction to the President’s action of assenting to the bill which has so far enjoyed popular support in the country.

Homosexualism, Lesbianism animalistic – Suleiman
However, former Ambassador Suleiman, yesterday, described homosexuality and lesbianism as animalistic acts, degrading to humanity. Suleiman served as Nigerian envoy in several countries, including Pakistan, Brazil, Angola, United States of America, Ivory Coast, Poland, Australia and Sudan, among others.

Reacting to US threat of sanctions against Nigeria over the anti-gay law, Suleiman stressed the need for Nigerian leaders not to be dependent on foreign assistance for governance.

He said: “Homosexuality and lesbianism are offences against God; if anybody wants to do it, he should do so secretly. It is not only animalistic but diminishes mankind.”

“If it is the money the US gives to us, let them keep the money. Nigeria is rich enough to take care of her people unlike other countries.”

 

FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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FOREIGN NEWS

Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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