Following demands that the bidding city of Abuja be rejected because of Nigeria’s anti-gay policies, The 2014 Commonwealth Games have been awarded to Glasgow.
Commenting on last week’s decision by the Commonwealth Games Federation, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, of OutRage!, commented that, “While it would have been great for Abuja to host the 2014 Games, sadly Nigeria is not yet ready for this honour, given its sad record of human rights abuses, corruption, election fraud and environmental destruction.”
“These human rights abuses include criminalisation, job discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” he said.
In August, LGBT activists called on the Commonwealth Games Federation to reject Nigeria’s bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games because of the country’s human rights policies.
“It would not be right for the 2014 Commonwealth Games to be held in Nigeria, given the country’s appalling human rights record, including its systematic persecution of lesbian and gay Nigerians,” said Davis Mac-Iyalla, founder and leader of the gay Christian group, Changing Attitude Nigeria, at the time.
“There will be many lesbian and gay athletes, officials, spectators and reporters at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. They could be at risk of arrest and violence if the Games go ahead in Abuja,” he added.
It is not know if the country’s official homophobia or the calls by activists played a role in Nigeria not being awarded the bid.
In response to the decision, Mac-Iyalla said on Friday that, “We are not rejoicing that Nigeria has lost its bid to host the games, but we hope our government will now improve human rights for LGBTs and for all Nigerians. If these improvements are made, Nigeria should be given a chance to host the 2018 games.”
“Changing Attitude Nigeria won’t relent in our struggle for LGBT equality and inclusion, in government, the law, the church and in sport,” he added.
Tatchell, however, also noted that an African city should be given the honour of hosting the Games: “It is shocking that no African country has ever been awarded the Commonwealth Games. This failing must be rectified, so that the hosting of the event becomes truly inclusive.”
In many Nigerian states, the maximum penalty for sex between mutually consenting adult men in private is 14 years in prison. In states that have introduced Sharia law, it is death by stoning.