Even though he was not specifically asked about homosexuality in Nigeria, Duke offered to express his thoughts on the country’s stance on it.
According to him, he doesn’t understand homosexuality, but he would offer protection to gay people and not criminalise them. However, he said he is uncomfortable with public display of affection by homosexual people and would be against such in the country.
He said, “I don’t understand it (homosexuality) because I’m straight, the emotional feelings a gay person would have of their sexuality, I don’t understand it, but I would not criminalise them.
“I would ensure that they have the protection of the law but if they want to exhibit their sexuality, that’s an affront on the current norms of society.
“I arrived at New York and went through the airport, and at the passenger rank, two guys came together and were kissing. Keep it in your house. I’m sorry.
“I’m talking about the norms of society. The day you try and kiss me, the slap I’ll slap you ehn. Don’t even try it.
“You cannot jettison the norms of society. There are certain things you’ll do in America or in England or Nigeria that you cannot do in Saudi Arabia, for instance, and you’ve got to respect the norms of the society.
“So when you’re in Rome, behave like the Romans. Don’t swim against the tide because we’re not there.”
When asked if he would appoint a gay person to his cabinet if he was elected president, he said that was not his business as long as the person can perform duties of office.
He said, “His sexuality is private to him, I don’t want to know if you’re gay. It’s not my business. My business is ‘Can he perform the assignment that has been assigned to him?'”
Duke is running for president next year and disclosed during the interview that he would soon announce the political platform he’ll use to realise his ambition. He was Cross River State governor between 1999 and 2007.
In 2014, then-president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill (SSMPA) into law. At that time, existing legislation already criminalised consensual same-sex activities in the country.
The law forbids any cohabitation between same-sex sexual partners and bans any ‘public show of same sex amorous relationship’. The law also prohibits Nigerians from registering, operating, or participating in gay clubs, societies and organisations, or supporting such activities.
Punishment for violations of the provisions in the law range between 10 to 14 years imprisonment.
The law has been criticised for violating fundamental human rights and endorsing physical violence, aggression, arbitrary detention and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the country.
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