United States President, Joe Biden, has issued a presidential memo aimed at expanding protections for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people across the world, including Nigeria.
The memo instructs agencies of the US across the world to consider appropriate responses, including the full range of diplomatic tools, and potentially financial sanctions and visa restrictions, when foreign governments restricted the rights of LGBTQ people
It also calls for increased efforts to ensure that LGBTQ asylum seekers have equal access to protection, expanded training for U.S. federal personnel, and potential increased use of priority referrals to expedite resettlement of vulnerable people.
Nigeria has an active anti-gay law signed by former President Goodluck Jonathan as Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act in January 2014, prescribing between 10 to 14 years in prison for cohabitation between same-sex sexual partners, public show of same-sex relationship, registration, operation or participation in gay clubs, societies and organisation, amongst others.
The newly inaugurated U.S. leader scaled up a presidential memorandum ratified by the Obama administration in 2011, which had sought to advance the rights of the queer community.
“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.