Africa

Nigeria poll suggests 87% oppose gay rights

  • 30 June 2015
  • From the section Africa
Gay Nigerian
Image caption Under Nigeria's anti-gay laws, same-sex couples could face 14 years in prison

A new opinion poll suggests that 87% of people in Nigeria support the legal ban on same-sex relations.

That number is lower than five years ago, when 96% of Nigerians opposed relationships between same-sex couples.

Gay rights activists, who commissioned the poll, said this showed attitudes towards gay people were changing, albeit slowly.

Nigeria is a deeply conservative country and religion plays a major role in society.

The government tightened anti-gay laws last year, banning same-sex marriages, gay groups and shows of same-sex public affection.

'Progress'

Campaigners say the laws are among the most draconian anywhere - and impose a sentence of up to 14 years in prison for same-sex couples.

About 1,000 people across Nigeria took part in the telephone poll which was commissioned by gay rights groups, including the Bisi Alimi Foundation.

Image caption Many Nigerians are deeply religious

Only about one in six people said they knew someone who was openly homosexual, reports the BBC's Will Ross from Nigeria's main city, Lagos.

However, the number almost doubled for people in their late teens and early twenties.

About 30% of respondents said gay, lesbian and bisexual people should have access to public services such as education and healthcare.

Gay activists, including the Bisi Alimi Foundation, see this as progress, our correspondent says.

They believe the survey shows that the tide is slowly turning towards acceptance. Nevertheless, Nigeria remains a dangerous place for people to come out, our correspondent adds.

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