Anti-Gay Nigeria Loses Bid to Host Games
The announcement today that Glasgow beat out Abuja, a Nigerian city, for the 2014 Commonwealth Games leaves some GLBT activists asking whether Nigeria’s stance on gay is partly the reason.
Pinknews.co.uk posted an article today in which it was pointed out that activists in the African country had wondered before the 47-to-24 vote whether Nigeria’s human rights record, including its persecution of GLBT people would factor against that nation.
The vote, which took place in Sri Lanka, was undertaken by representatives from nations participating in the Games.
Pinknews.co.uk reported that last August, a gay Christian organization called Changing Attitude Nigeria brought an 11-page document to the attention of the Comomwealth Games Federation during a meeting in London with the Games’ chief executive.
The group’s founder, Davis Mac-Iyalla, presented the report as evidence for why Nigeria should not be awarded the Games in 2014, due to its human right abuses against gays and lesbians.
Article 7 of The Games’ own constitution requires that "there shall be no discrimination against any country or person on any grounds whatsoever including race, color, gender, religion or politics,’ reported pinknews.co.uk.
The Commonwealth Games Federation also declares on its Web site that three paramount criteria guide the CGF: "humanity, equality and destiny."
Nigeria’s criminal code falls short of these lofty requirements.
Pinknews.co.uk quoted from Nigerian law, which states that 14-year prison penalty can be imposed upon those who enjoy "carnal knowledge of any person against order of nature or permits a male to have carnal knowledge of him."
Peter Tatchell, GLBT equality leader with the British group OutRage!, was part of the delegation that attended the London meeting with the 11-page report in hand.
Said Tatchell, "I would love an African country to host the games, but not Nigeria."
Continued Tatchell, "Awarding Abjua the games would have rewarded bad governance, grave social injustices and the denial of civil rights to millions of Nigerians."
Tatchell added, "Nigeria should be offered the 2018 Games, on the condition that within the next three years it makes serious progress on eradicating corruption, election fraud and human rights violations."
The news was met with jubilation elsewhere, as reported today by the British newspaper The Herald.
First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond hailed the vote and promised, "We will make these Games the greatest sporting event our country has ever seen."
The Games mean a boost for Scotland, and especially for Glasgow, that country’s largest city, which will benefit from new facilities and, after the games, a planned new neighborhood of over a thousand houses, 300 of which would be low-cost housing.
In his final argument for Scotland as the host of the 2014 Games, Salmond had told the voting delegation, "Scotland is united behind this bid--every single political party and every part of the nation," reported The Herald.
Continued Salmond, "Every Scot is excited by what Scotland can give to the Games and about what these Games can give to Scotland. And be in no doubt--Scotland can deliver," with, Salmond said, 70 percent of the needed infrastructure already present "in bricks and mortar."
Said Salmond, "Our infrastructure is already well capable of supporting world-class events."
Declared Salmond, "Delegates, Scotland is ready."
The delegates agreed, with an overwhelming majority casting their votes for Glasgow.
Nigerian Olympic Committee Habu Gumel responded to the vote by saying that he was "devastated," but vowing to resubmit Abuja as a contender for future Games.