West African SFL Conference Challenges Perception of LGBT Rights in Nigeria

This year’s West African Regional Conference (WARC) held on the 27th of October gathered 358 participants. As Olumayowa Okediran noted, “The most exciting thing about this is not the number of attendees, but the fact that our RCs in Africa (Nigeria in particular) are becoming more radical.”Just a few years ago, it was unthinkable to have people in Africa talk about drug decriminalisation or the protection of LGBT rights as the population has been opposing ideas of liberty for a while. 92% of Nigerians supported the anti- gay rights law, which criminalises homosexuality with a 14-year jail term. This resulted in Nigeria having the second highest LGBT nonacceptance rate.  Since the risks behind the promotion of personal freedoms are pretty high. African Students for Liberty had decided to focus on free markets first.

This year African SFL invited Olumide Makanjuola who leads The Initiative for Equal Rights a pro-LGBT group to give a speech. At the event, Olumide made his first public appearance as a gay man. As a result, he managed to change the opinions of some people, which is a very promising development.

Moreover, because of the fact that there is ground for a sound debate on LGBT rights in Nigeria, our leaders in West Africa are now willing go further by discussing topics which have been ignored or rejected for many years. The future of liberty in Africa is bright.