By EBUN SESSOU with Agency report
A couple of years back, Saturday Vanguard reported the activities of Reverend Rowland who was running a gay Church underground in Lagos, Nigeria. The Church called House of Rainbow was situated at No 36/38 Yakoyo Street, Ojodu Berger, Lagos. Reverend Roland sometime ago reportedly appeared on Cable Network News, CNN, where he proudly talked about his Church of gays.
The initial reaction about his exposure was that such a Church could not exist within Nigeria as such things are common in abroad.
But an uproar in the Anglican communion in Europe on gay bishops brought up the case of Reverend Rowland, a Nigerian who was residing in Lagos. He was also operating his gay Church in Lagos.
In his plot 145 flat 1, Jakande Estate, Isolo, Lagos, where Rev. Rowland Olajide Macaulay, the gay Pastor lived, the apartment was locked. It was learnt that the Reverend left his house on Saturday, September 13, immediately after a national newspaper carried the story of his homosexual Church and ever since, he had not been seen.
According to his neighbours, the Sunday service could not hold both at the Jakande Estate branch and the Ojodu headquarters of House of Rainbow Ministries after that publication.
Right now, Rev. Rowland has relocated abroad where he is presently running his gay Church,”House Of Rainbow Fellowship”.
According to the gay Pastor, “any negative effect on the anti-gay bill will have detrimental effect on the work and mission of House Of Rainbow in Nigeria. The lives of LGBTI people and their friends, families and allies will be further frustrated with fear and prejudice. We need to pray and stand up against injustice”.
According to him, “My Church is a voice of the younger generation of citizens, activists, and diaspora, and our collective belief in a more progressive Nigeria. They are afraid of our growing influence as we gather allies not just from the West, but from people that are not afraid but powerful and resilient.
“Right now, we are spreading their tentacles to every village, town and city around the world. The Church is also calling on faithful and dedicated local leaders who believe in homosexuality and lesbianism. Ten House Of Rainbow Fellowship local leaders are in Ghana, Nigeria, UK, Burundi, and Lesotho.
“Religion is a backbone to life in Nigeria, so, we all want to go to Church,” he said.
“But we don’t want to lie to God about who we are.”
Macaulay first set up House of Rainbow in 2006 and openly held Sunday services in a Lagos hotel hall decorated in rainbow colours. A public backlash culminated in members being beaten as they left the Church. Macaulay fled to the UK after receiving death threats.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International and gay rights activists and groups have also condemned the law, calling it discriminatory and incompatible with international human rights laws to which Nigeria is a signatory.
In all, homosexuality is illegal in 78 countries worldwide and punishable by death in seven, according to the UNAIDS organisation.
“It (the law) is a license to violence,” said the gay Nigerian man spoken to by AFP.
“In this country, we have people being lynched because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.I am afraid for people who can’t even speak for themselves and who are going to end up in jail without anyone knowing about it.”
Meanwhile, some gay activists recently vowed to fight the Nigerian government after the country outlawed same-sex unions, warning the act legitimised homophobic violence and increased fears of persecution.
A gay man in Lagos, whom AFP did not identify in case of reprisals, said he was “devastated” by Jonathan’s actions and terrified at the consequences.
“I am concerned especially for LGBT people up north, in the (southern) Niger Delta… and for LGBT people in the whole of the country actually,” he added.
“They (the government) have just legalised violence, stigma and discrimination. Our situation has gone from bad to worse.”
Nigeria is a highly religious country, with evangelism popular in the Christian-majority South, while the North’s Muslim and Islamic law runs alongside state and federal justice systems.
Speaking with some religious leaders on the issue, Reverend Ayo Olawuyi said, “Same sex marriage is satanic. The word of God on it is clear. This is not an issue of human rights. Anybody that supports such is fighting against God. It is a fearful thing to oppose God.
So, there is need for everybody to shout it out that gay, lesbianism, and all what not, is just the beginning of the destroying of the fabric of our heritage. It is not our heritage. If you don’t want to marry, don’t marry, if you are a man, marry your opposite sex. It is morally wrong, criminalised in the Nigerian legal system, in the criminal code and every code of the country. It is spiritually unpardonable. That was why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone.
“There is no way they can continue in such sins and want brethren to accept them as fellow believers. No sinner is part of God’s kingdom. Here in Nigeria, we cannot, we will not, we must not allow this decadence to see the light of day. We have enough sins we are asking God to forgive us and renew us about rather than, adding these vices,” Olawuyi said.