A former governor of Cross River State Donald Duke has said he will not criminalise same-sex relationships if he becomes Nigeria’s president in 2019.
Duke, a member of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, was the governor of Cross River between 1999 and 2007.
He made the comment while appearing on On The Couch, a show hosted by Laila Johnson-Salami and Falz the Bahd Guy.
“I don’t understand their sexuality,” Duke said. “But I will not criminalise them. I will ensure that they have the protection of the law.”
He did not state how he make the Nigerian law, which currently Nigeria criminalises same-sex relationships, protect gays.
The law enacted in 2014 by the Goodluck Jonathan government prohibits a marriage or civil union by persons of the same sex, the solemnisation of such marriage in places of worship and the registration of homosexual clubs and societies.
It prescribes a 14-year jail term for anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage or union and a 10-year jail term for any person who “operates, participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations, or directly or indirectly makes a public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria.”
Despite his promise of protecting gays, Duke, however, said there will be no room for homosexuals to engage in public display of affection since that is “an affront on the norms of the society since that is “an affront on the norms of the society.”
When asked if he can appoint a gay person into his cabinet, the presidential aspirant said he would be more concerned about the value an individual will add to his government instead of the person’s sexuality.
“His sexuality is private to him,” he said. “I don’t want to know. It is not my business. My business is can he perform the assignment that has been assigned to him.”