By Hilary White

BRUSSELS, January 21, 2009 ( – The European Union’s Intergroup on “gay rights” has demanded that all foreign aid to Nigeria be suspended after that country’s House of Representatives voted to prohibit attempts to create legal “gay marriage.” The Nigerian vote was unanimous this week in favour of a bill that “prohibits marriage between persons of same gender, solemnisation of same and other matters related therewith.”

“The only result this law is going to achieve is a raising hatred against gay, lesbian and transgender citizens of Nigeria,” said Michael Cashman, Labour MEP and President of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transsexual Intergroup. The Intergroup is sending a request to the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid to “evaluate” the financial support given to Nigeria.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, suffers high rates of HIV/AIDS, infant mortality, infectious diseases such as typhoid fever, malaria and yellow fever, Lassa fever and meningococcal meningitis. The country struggles against widespread poverty and environmental degradation.

But one Nigerian representative, Igo Aguma, said it was against the religious beliefs of Nigerians as well as the country’s penal code to “engage in activities that are as quarrelsome as this between man and man, as well as women and women.” Nigeria is 50 percent Muslim, 40 percent Christian with animists making up 10 ten percent.

“It is time for us at this point in time to think back and look at the scourge of HIV/AIDS. The greatest means of transmitting this disease is through the act of sodomy. Young children are already victims of been lured into this cruel and unimaginable act. It is an act of perversion,” said Aguma.

Nigerian law states that anyone who has “carnal knowledge of any person against order of nature or permits a male to have carnal knowledge of him” can be imprisoned for 14 years.

Last week, the European Parliament adopted a report calling for a standardised legal recognition of homosexual unions across all member states.