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Richard Branson to Meet with Nigerian Leaders to Discuss Gay Rights | Writes On Uganda

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Richard Branson - January 2014 - BellaNaija

With the on going international attention Nigeria’s same sex bill has been gaining, business mogul Richard Branson plans to meet with leaders to discuss gay rights and encourage compassion.

He also plans to visit leaders of countries with strong laws against same sex marriage. He took to Twitter to make the announcement today, but is yet to reveal when he will be coming.

He also wrote an article discussing on Uganda. Read it below;

Last month I spoke out on the dreadful situation in Uganda, where MPs have passed a bill making homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment and not reporting gay people punishable by extremely strong jail sentences.

There were thousands of impassioned replies about the issue and it was good to raise awareness about such an important subject. It was saddening to read a handful of comments from people praising the new law, but most heartening to see so much support for the Ugandan gay community.
Richard
Some people questioned why I called for companies to boycott Uganda, while Virgin does business in other countries that have civil rights issues. I commented on the Uganda situation specifically because I felt the life imprisonment bill was so appalling I couldn’t stand by and do nothing, and still have hope the Ugandan Prime Minister won’t sign it into law.

Sometimes business leaders have more freedom to make controversial comments than politicians, and it is important to stimulate debate and challenge injustices – even if it hurts your business.

We are now working with Ugandan business people to put together a strong list of like-minded entrepreneurs and companies to appeal to the Ugandan Prime Minister to not sign the bill into law. In other countries where civil rights of individuals are being abused we are also working with like-minded business people to tackle this sort of discriminatory behaviour. Ideally, businesses and organisations should work with governments to try to change their attitudes from within countries.

I have spoken out against discrimination on many occasions, from supporting equal marriage to challenging Malaysia’s leaders on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s trial. Next week I am going to meet government leaders from countries including Nigeria to discuss issues such as gay rights and try to encourage progress. We want to work with governments around the world – in countries we do and don’t operate in – to change attitudes for the better. Everyone should speak out to ensure people are free to love whoever they want.

Those politicians passing draconian laws against gay people may discover their own children were born gay. Would they really want to see them locked up for life? We need love and understanding not punishment.

43 Comments

  1. NaijaBornMe

    January 16, 2014 at 4:01 am

    Dear Mr. Branson: ” If for your attempt to talk to our leaders about what you feel to be called so call progress is not pure, you can keep your money, no matter how much you have, will never equate change the standards that God has put in place for man to follow on earth.”

    I’ve written on a prior post that I don’t believe any government body in the world can legislate morality. People will do what they want to do, regardless. The truth is many people want their ears tickled and want to just do what they want without consequence. All this recent uproar on “same sex marriage” is a bit of a distraction. Since the fall of man we do not live in an ideal world and I do agree with Mr. Branson in the sense that these people need love, not a law to lock them up. But the type of love should be love that gets to the root of the issue. It’s a spiritual something o. People struggle with all types of vices. But a spade is a spade and there is a right way & a wrong way. WE ARE IN WAR FOLKS: & the battle is been Truth vs Lie. In the end, truth will surely prevail.

  2. Sharon

    January 16, 2014 at 4:54 am

    Before you do that Mr Branson, I suggest you go to UAE or Saudi Arabia and talk to them first about Gay rights, after you finish talking to them Face to Face, then come talk to us. Shebi you do major business with the arabs and fly ya planes there, eh hen, so go talk to them first.

    #Nonsense.

    • bitha

      January 16, 2014 at 8:09 am

      thank you Sharon ,he should dare go there before coming to Africa, thinking we can be easy to manipulate.

    • SS

      January 16, 2014 at 11:20 am

      true talk….e no fit,they know we africans can be tossed about…..toss with our brain and manipulate….smh….on this one african leaders no go gree

    • African Man

      January 16, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Use your brains Sharon and supporters. Those countries are Islamic states, while Nigeria is a secular country.

    • Jane Public

      January 16, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      Gay rights should be universal shouldn’t it. Are they not human beings too. Why pick on a secular state and not an Islamic country. It is okay to accept that Islamic faith does not support homosexuality but secular states who use lets say religious and cultural sentiments are wrong. Child please go and sit down. They are attacking who they know they can. You think there are no gay people in Saudi Arabia. Why should Saudi’s views on the issue of gay people be respected or carefully left alone while they go gansgetr on Africa. Threatening this and Threatening that. You see what I mean. The hypocrisy in it. They are picking the path of least resistance. Are the gay people in UAE aliens, shouldn’t they also have freedom of who to love. What about Singapore and Russia. Your argument doesn’t hold water. Secular state or Islamic state or Christian state, it shouldn’t matter. You want to pick up the fight, pick up the fight for all, at least human beings live there too but noooooo, they won’t. Why not go to China. The human rights laws there are appaling. They do worse than the Nigerian govt has said they will do, I am sure the punishment for saying you are gay in UAE must be worse than Nigeria, is Richard Branson going there to “discuss”. Sit down please and stop supporting hypocrisy. No, my argument is not pro or anti gay, i am just looking at this thing from the point of bullies and victims. A bully picks on who he/she perceives as weak and surmountable. They are truly passionate about gay rights, let them take on China, Russia, Saudi and the UAE then I will take them seriously. Until then, their yeye is seriously stinking.

    • Sunshine

      January 19, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Sharon my dear thank you, now I know how to spell “eh hen”. No mind the bullies.

  3. African Man

    January 16, 2014 at 5:21 am

    Sir Richard. Don’t be surprised if they ask to be ‘compensated’ (bribed) to reverse the decision.

    • mama

      January 16, 2014 at 9:26 am

      LOL TRUEE

  4. Bunmi

    January 16, 2014 at 6:01 am

    I am very against the anti-gay laws in these countries. I think it shouldn’t be these dirty leaders’ priority. Nigeria is gradually falling apart and Jonah is busy sanctioning anti gay laws. However, I just don’t like seeing these privileged white people intervening in our affairs. They always want to be ones saving others but themselves. Until you can do something about the racism in your land I advise you, Captain Save the Negroes, to have several seats in one of your Virgin Atlantic airplanes and mind your business for good.

    But I know these illiterates we have in power will be dancing to the tune of their white master. #slaves

  5. MeMe

    January 16, 2014 at 7:33 am

    Looool Branson will “discuss” not pull out of Nigeria… Nigeria is one of Virgin Atlantic biggest markets so much so that we are one of the few countries the airline permits two luggages than the normal one

  6. http://www.thelmathinks.blogspot.com/

    January 16, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Really? Of all the issues we have that’s the one you choose to come to speak to our leaders about. While you’re at it please mention unemployment, poverty, electricity or the lack thereof, bad roads, and again unemployment. You can start by giving me a job!
    I’m not in support of the anti-gay law but for God’s sake don’t these people realize that we had far more pressing problems!

    http://www.thelmathinks.blogspot.com

  7. omel

    January 16, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Hmm! Well, can’t stop him from coming to naija but, i can suggest few places he should go and express himself once he steps foot into Nigeria. Places like, Jos, Sokoto, Katsina, Zamphara, Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi, Yobe and Kano.

  8. Technicallynigerian

    January 16, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Abeg if the man wants to appeal for something to be done in Nigeria, he should appeal for more serious matters like improving the health system…mtcheew..go n talk to the leaders about beta things jaree

  9. Bella

    January 16, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Saudi ke? never … the arabs are proud in their culture and tradition, he is too business invested to even begin to scratch the surface on this topic in a muslim run arab country. Africa is easier abi? na wa o

  10. Rotimi Lawanson

    January 16, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Richard. Branson you are a bloody hypocrite. Go to UAE, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, China, Russia, Qatar, Kuwait and co and speak to them about Gay rights first. We will never change our laws on this. We are Christians and Muslims and we do not accept this. Go away and keep your filthy money. Even in the US, many states have refused to accept homosexual rights. Go there and campaign there. By the way, our culture permits a man to marry more than one wife. Would you campaign for it in Europe? Bloody hypocrite. You want to dictate to us to accept your warped values,

    • slice

      January 17, 2014 at 1:12 am

      with all God this God that, you guys have not worked any miracle in that country. i believe in God and I spend more time praying to God and asking him to help people than i do fighting his battles. Let the God that is God, Answer by fire. Isn’t that how Elijah prayed. if the muslim God and the Christian God is so against gay people that he wants their lives destroyed, don’t you think he can do that himself. Those idiots up north that call themselves boko haram are trying to create a muslim states b/c they believe that’s what their god wants and you supposed enlightened people are here supporting an idiot arresting and beating people in the name of god. May God forgive all of you. the only person that was ever condemned for a sexual crime in Jesus’ time, he said let him who has not sinned cast the first stone. But you guys are better than Jesus and of course more moral, so no way you must take it a step further. And all this talk that they don’t say anything to saudi and china etc is simply not true. the ignorant charles published that yesterday and people just continued saying it. read up here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Saudi_Arabia

  11. Xtsy

    January 16, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Lol at the comments, wished boda ode would be able to read them

  12. sassycassie

    January 16, 2014 at 9:49 am

    How come they never meet with Middle eastern, Chinese or Russian leaders to discuss ‘compassion”

  13. Unreasonable

    January 16, 2014 at 10:04 am

    this so called billionaires that prefers advance slavery to rapid development in Africa can say whatever, we’re talking of better standards of living to discussing about Gay or whatever right. Why don’t you go to Russia or China why Nigeria. I think is high time Nigeria should at least stop this new advance slavery by this so called westerners. I mean Nigeria has so much to deal with, please don’t come and start forcing another nonsense down our throat after all. You guys manufactures and sells all the guns used in Sudan, CAR and other war torn countries to milk away their natural resources. Richard Branson please choose a better course and let the Gay right stay for the moment. Let us see it as a pressing problem then we can be seeking for any external assistant. Please Boko haram , Unemployment, Health , Housing among other issues are our pressing concern.

  14. Nonye

    January 16, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Dear Mr. Branson,
    Please stop spreading lies and propaganda. Nobody is born as gay person. It is a choice people make about their feelings. If we all were to act according to our feelings, I dont know what kind of world we would be in. You are free to plead with the govt on the humanitarian side of the punishment but dont try to make excuses for this vile behaviour. It is nothing to be proud of!

    • Bee

      January 16, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      And no one is born heterosexual either. People grow into their sexual orientation & no one intentionally opts for the path of persecution.

  15. whocares

    January 16, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Ok let us clear this middle eastern business once and for all. Saudi and all those other countries are NON SECULAR STATES.. Do you know what that means? They do not purport to base their law on anything but religion and the Sharia.. Nigeria is NOT.. Do you want me to explain why we are not, or why it would not be desirable? That said.. The topic says “gay rights” which may not necessarily mean marriage.. The right to freedom of expression, non discrimination and equality… Do you people understand the full import of this law? The Nigerian government is the only one I have seen that passes a law that goes against its own written constitution without first amending said constitution or even informing its citizens.. This law was passed in PRIVATE.. Gooodluck signed this bill and not one member of the press was aware this was in motion.. Can anyone tell me what Article 42 of the Nigerian constitution says? Let me help you… “Right to freedom from discrimination”.. Tell me how this law is not in direct contrast to this law.. You all sit there in your hovel of ignorance and haze of hate and support this law without THINKING about its full consequence. This is how it starts.. We have in our constitution 2 contradictory laws sitting side by side and we applaud our government.. I am done commenting on this topic.. I cant.

    Ps: We do have more pressing problems in Nigeria true.. but people choose to fight different battles, and if this is the one Mr Branson has decided to take on.. oh well.

    • Noni

      January 16, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Thank you!

      These days Nigeria is looking like a theocracy…since we are making “sins” punishable by law, why don’t we also sentence all fornicators and adulterers to 10 years in jail. After all, the Lord God frowns on it and it is a threat to the family structure… hahahahaha…

    • Jane Public

      January 16, 2014 at 11:54 am

      Secular or non secular is an easy way to excuse why he and his likes can’t go to Middle Eastern countires. Easy way out. Sorry it is BS in the overall picture. Why can’t we demand they be also open to other religions and be a secular country. Right, we won’t. Secular or non secular, are the gay people there not human beings. Let me make it easier, are the Christians there for example not human beings too that they should be free to practise their faith. Under The United Nations kini kan kini kan, my head is too sleepy to pull the exact words out, don’t human beings all have rights to bla bla bla. Again, sleepy brain. It is funny how Africa is an easy target but North Korea, China, Russia, The Arab countries can do what they like. Look at Russia’s stance of homosexulaity, yet The Winter Games will still take place this year. Why can’t they sanction and yadi yada Russia and take the games elsewhere. Get my train of thought? I am not getting involved in this pro gay, anti gay argument, so don’t see it as that but see it from the point of why these white people see Africa as their hosueboys they either want to dictate to or cajole into seeing things their way. What kind of ojoro is that. China’s human rights laws are one of the worst in the world, you don’t see Richard Branson going there to discuss options. Last year David Cameron went with the largest number of delegates ever seen for a business trip in China. The world and their mother licks their ass and with the Arabs they carefully ignore them and let them do what they like. Why can’t they apply the same attitude to Africa and leave them the hell alone abi. They are also benefitting from our oil and natural resources, they secretly support wars to milk the place dry, that one is not enough, they must subjugate too. Again, my comment is not about pro gay or anti gay, call me Switzerland but I couldn’t care less really. I am not joining the debate. We have not demanded for Stella Oduah’s head it is now this internet abi arm chair slinging of words that will now change anything. I am just effing tired of the smug hypocrisy from people like Richard Branson. If he wants to put his money where his mouth is, he should pull Virgin Atlantic from Nigeria. Fat chance in hell right, so why the Mother Theresa attitude. He should get away jare

    • whocares

      January 16, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      I get where you are all coming from, but that doesn’t excuse the facts.. In your fight against the “white people” and their ojoro ways you have put these people in the middle and are punishing them. I like how you didn’t address the problems with the constitution either.. wrong is wrong. If we keep up with this mentality of “why cant they leave us alone” we will keep making the wrong decisions because we make them for sentimental reasons.. It is ok for people to feel this way, but a government? A CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT?
      I suppose the reasons they don’t go to the UAE, China etc is that we don’t hear news from there. Free press in those countries are not necessarily free, we don’t hear reports of rape, public beatings, or death. Undoubtedly it will happen, but we don’t hear it.. This we hear, read and see. I am sick to my stomach reading stories of little girls whom their parents have arranged strangers to rape because they “dress like a boy”..

    • whocares

      January 16, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      I had not finished gan sef.. As I was saying.. You can take the “leave us alone stance”, but people are suffering. Suffering in ways you cannot imagine and I hope never happens to you and if he wants to speak out and do something about it, I will let him, and even support him. What avenues do this Africans have to redress the injustice against them? Which social system supports them? If he can go to the UAE he should go, if not Africa seems to be a free for all so why shouldn’t he speak out and do what he can for people who need help? No African person is.. We are talking about Western intrusion.. The British introduced the anti-gay law into Nigerian law way back, White American missionaries influenced the hateful Ugandan law.. The West have been in the beginning, and middle of supporting anti-gay propaganda so really how much more intrusion can happen?

    • me

      January 16, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      1million hugs plus kisses to you dearie! Nonsense and Ingredients Richard something…Biko he had better park well

    • ogeAdiro

      January 16, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      The man only said he was going to discuss the matter with African leaders. Abeg take am easy oh.

    • Rotimi Lawanson

      January 16, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      You are talking absolute nonsense. Is China a Sharia State? What about Singapore? What about so many states within the US that have refused to accept homosexuality. Mplease don’t come and preach nonsense. This goes beyond mere technicalities. We want to protect our children and families. If you want to protect your children from pornography you make sure they are not exposed to it. We don’t want any aberrant lifestyle in our country. After all if Richard Branson’s parents were gay would he be here?

    • Jane Public

      January 16, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      too sleepy to respond again but i wasn’t excusing the facts. Why can’t they take on China for all their human right abominations. To the point Richard wants to travel here for discussion on wetin i know know. The man is just bored jare and he needs a cause to make himself fell better. His other billionaires have causes they are known for, he is feeling left out. If he truly wants to put his money where his mouth is, pull Virgin out of Nigeria. If you think Richard is doing this for altruistic reasons, child even my sleep brain can see through him. I will come back to respond, bed calling dear

    • ogeAdiro

      January 16, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      I’m not a lawyer, but I think congress can enact any law they want and the president is free to sign it. Now, you can challenge the constitutionality of the law at the supreme court.
      I think I understand where you’re coming from though. If the law actually takes away certain constitutional rights of any citizen based on gender, creed, race and yes, sexual orientation then people should be wary.
      The jury is still out on how to tackle the issue of homosexual marriage.

    • Me Full Ground

      January 18, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      @”Lawyer” Whocares, before you start quoting constitutional
      rights, can you tell us why belonging to a secret cult is an
      offence in Nigeria? Does that not affect right to freedom of
      association? Every constitutional right has limitation, otherwise
      society would be lawless and ungovernable. Freedom of association
      is freedom to do what the particular society or country regards as
      lawful and/or moral, it is not an open cheque to become another
      Sodom and Gomorrah. This is the pursuit of the anti-Christ using
      his western foot soldiers to pursue the so-called “gay rights”.
      Soon enough, people will begin to push their rights to marry
      animals as their sexual orientation. Satanic researchers will begin
      to cook up findings and data to support such evil theories. If I
      may ask, where is the homosexual gene? Mschweeew.

  16. Make I talk

    January 16, 2014 at 10:57 am

    We have no right to judge what someone else chooses to do! If you are not gay, great! A lot of us have dirtier skeletons in our closets but choose to make more issues on other peoples problems. P.s, it will not make you a better person or solve your problems. I doubt if a gay person will see a straight person and harass him or her. Everyday, we pray our country becomes a great nation like America or the uk or elsewhere so we don’t have to run, well guess what, they are great because individuals have the right to be individuals and the government focuses more on how the nation can be good for individuals. Food for thought: a sin is a sin. A liar is not better than an armed robber in the eyes of God, so he who has no sin, please pick up the biggest stone!

  17. Meah

    January 16, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you Jane, THANK YOU!! Far as i’m concerned, its not so much ’bout gays but the attitude of these folks. It stinks. Gordon Brown, Mr. Branson, even my uncle Obama. Talking down at us and even threatning to cut off aids funds if we dont dance to their tune. I dont blame them though, the fault lies squarely with mama Africa who has refused to rouse herself from her deep slumber and become the economic power she is meant to be. Thats the moral lesson from China: maximixe your potential and you can call anyone’s bluff. even the big U.S of A.

    • Miss Anonymous

      January 16, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      1000 likes @ your comment, Meah.

  18. ThatCalmGuy

    January 16, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Nna na wa oh! Im glad to see all d love 4 sanity in 9ja but, fellaz pls calm down..Dis is beginning to sound insane.
    For starters, dis man said leaders of countries ‘including’ 9ja. Not just 9ja. Unless many of us practise mind-craft, Mr Branson hasnt rily told us if he is going to d arabs or d chinks.
    2ndly, his visit is just that-a visit for a discussion. The law will not be overturned bcoz of his coming.
    I am not a saint peeps, but lets be careful of how we use or abuse our freedom of expression. I am rily not bothered if Mr Branson is whiter than an idumota bleaching cream. What I cant say if he were standing in front of me, I wont waste time typing here. He might be an attention-seeker and attention seekers pay attention. Dis matter is d newest 9ja news internationally. They may call us the dark continent coz we are dark or coz phcn is terrorizing 9ja. As long as our minds are enlightened, we are cool. Many need to get an education about this gay situation. Dnt just pick up a fone n type.
    9ja O ni baje Oh

  19. hmm

    January 16, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    God bless that Jane girl men. I feel like he sees all those African countries as small rats where he can pick and choose. If you go to Saudi Arabia and it works we will let you in our country. He needs Africa. Americans don’t enter virgin mobile do they? Abeg this guy should go. He dare not go tell the Saudi Arabian men they should just take the laws off. When they won almost the entire world. That’s why I like them they stand for what they believe in. He will become poor in a matter of 1 week. Nigeria is not perfect but what country is? Lets not act like odes and follow follow to kiss up to this man. Just as Jane said go to Saudi Arabia if it works you can come to naija. May be just May be we will listen then. Nonsense

  20. Karma

    January 16, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Look at the big picture. The west dont care, what Nigerians do to their gay populace. If we like we can burn them on the stake and throw in a couple of prostitues and other sexual deviants. As long as we don’t set the fire near any oil well. They want oil, not save us from our selves. Jonathan and all the ones before him are puppets put in there by the west. They really, really really don’t give a f$&@;k about you. The more dysfunctional Nigeria is the better assess to cheap free oil.

    • wow

      January 17, 2014 at 12:47 am

      God bless love God bless you. They know if they talk oil is gone. Without oil there is no America. yes they have some oil served up for emergency but it will die out. That’s why America is not saying anything to anybody especially the middle eastern, china and all of them. Abeg little kids work in factories in china but is it getting as much attention as this no.

  21. NNENNE

    January 17, 2014 at 2:47 am

    Anybody can be whatsoever they wish but please keep it to yourself.
    White people should leave Africans alone.Africans have continuity and kinsman ship.They need offsprings to inherit them, White people are naturally nomads. Where ever they are eventually becomes home for them.They have no kinship.That is why people like Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama are happy with one to two daughters.
    God had a reason for making us in varied forms. The west should cease from molding everyone in their image.

  22. Me Full Ground

    January 18, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Branson, would be the first case to be tried under the law.
    Such a discussion would be tantamount counselling and supporting
    gay marriages. So Inspector General of Police let your men be alert
    and let show some example with this impostor who came to deceive
    OBJ and Nigerians that Virgin will offer cheaper fares on Nigerian
    routes. They virtually raped Nigeria Airways (Virgin Nigeria) by
    dumping their old aircrafts on the route just like all the other
    airlines and charge double of the fares.

  23. Me Full Ground

    January 18, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I got this from a Facebook friend: “The whites who brought
    Christianity and the Bible to Africa should please tell us when God
    forgave Sodom and Gommorah!!!”

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