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Anti-gay movie heading for gay-obsessed Nigeria

Dickson Iroegbu

Dickson Iroegbu

No good seems likely to come from this:

A Nigerian movie called “Law 58” reportedly will be released soon, at least on DVD, with the aim of “throw[ing] light on gay practices in the country and its devastating effects on the society at large,” in the words of Naija.com.

The film, reportedly shot several years ago but not yet released, is by award-winning and formerly prominent producer-director Dickson Iroegbu.  Information Nigeria described the film as “an expository, yet shocking movie on gay practice and its consequences on the traditional African society.”

The issue of homosexuality and rumors about who is and who isn’t gay have played a prominent role recently in public discourse in Nigeria. Iroegbu himself has denied rumors that he is gay.

The country already has a law providing a sentence of up to 14 years for homosexual activity, but many legislators want stricter laws. Both house of the legislature have cast preliminary votes in favor of a bill to prohibit same-sex marriages and groups that endorse gay rights.

Nigerian Entertainment Today quoted people critical of Iroegbu for his choice of topics:

  • He’s basically making this film for his own benefit and not really to condemn those in the act. If no one had accused him of being gay, he wouldn’t have felt the need to make an anti-gay movie, especially as the law concerning homosexuality hadn’t been passed.”
  • “Why focus on homosexuality, why not a movie about the suffering and starvation of Nigerian people instead of trying so hard to prove to the world that you are not gay.”

Iroegbu, who won awards in Nigeria’s “Nollywood” film industry about 10 years ago, said, “Homosexuality is an evil act that our culture and religion as Africans prohibits, and so, speaking against it as a film maker is to re-echo what my society has been saying about the ugly practice.”

‘’When I saw the national assembly debate on gay marriage, I thought it was prophetic because at the time I produced the movie, we hadn’t engaged ourselves constructively on how to address the issue,’’ he said.

The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill would provide a 14-year prison sentence for people who enter into “a same-sex marriage contract, or civil union” and a 10-year sentence for anyone convicted of participating in a same-sex wedding ceremony.

It would provide a 10-year sentence for anyone “who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria.”

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