Nigeria joins Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda on the list of countries whose aid from the United Kingdom is reportedly in jeopardy, after the country’s Senate gave a bill criminalizing gay marriages the thumbs up last week.
The proposed law includes the following jail terms for violators:
14 years each for same-sex couples.
10 years for those who helped same-sex couples get married.
10 years for “public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly.”
10 years for organizing, operating or supporting gay clubs.
According to The Associated Press, both the United States and the United Kingdom are monitoring the progress of the legislation, but have declined to comment on how it may affect their assistance to Nigeria.
The U.K. government has previously affirmed plans to reduce its official development assistance to countries that persecute homosexuals.
The United Kingdom provides around $31 million, while the United States pours $300 million into HIV and AIDS programs in Nigeria annually. Experts say that with the anti-gay marriage law, Nigeria could lose these funds, a development that could hurt the country given the prevalence of the disease there: More than 3 million Nigerians live with HIV and AIDS, and many are unaware they have it, according to the United Nations.
Nigerian public health physician and health blogger Chikwe Ihekweazu told AP Nigeria is home to around 400,000 people on anti-retroviral medications, 95 percent of which are funded by foreign donors.
Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.