YouTuber Victor Emmanuel has ended a solo hunger strike outside Nigeria’s National Assembly against anti-gay laws because the government simply “don’t care” about protest.
Emmanuel, who goes by Vicw0nder online, began his strike on 20 March to protest the controversial Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act (SSMPA) passed in 2014.
The SSMPA criminalises “making a public show of a same-sex relationship” and involvement in any LGBT+ clubs, organisations or unions.
Emmanuel told PinkNews: “It is such a barbaric law and I don’t think the state should be interested in what happens in the bedroom of two or more consenting adults.”
He suspended his hunger strike on its third day after receiving advice from other LGBT+ activists.
He explained: “Organisation within the community is important. I’ve been able to raise awareness but it’s now time to use other methods maybe legislative or legal.
“The history of protests in Nigeria has shown that the government don’t really care and may not move into action, hence re-strategising with other members of the community here in Nigeria is important.”
In a video on Twitter, Emmanuel said he would not leave until his body gave up or the law is repealed. However, on the third day, he confirmed he was ending his strike.
He tweeted: “I’ve decided to suspend my hunger strike and protest at the National Assembly.
“I am not ending my advocacy for the repeal of the SSMPA, I am simply taking a different approach after being advised by people who have been in the fight longer than I have.
“I’ll be working with them from now on. The fight has not ended and I will continue to use my voice to demand equality and human rights for queer people in Nigeria alongside other well meaning members of the community.”
He thanked his followers and the community for supporting his protest and said it has already sparked important conversations, both on social media and offline.
The SSMPA has been increasingly debated in world media in recent months because of a number of raids on gatherings of “suspected gays”. Many of these raids lead to violence from the police and the arrests of LGBT+ people.
His video on Twitter about the protest was viewed over 130,000 times. He has been using the hashtag #RepealSSMPA which has been gaining traction on social media.
In the video, he said: “Every other day, Nigerians, armed with state-facilitated homophobia, go out of their way to harm, harass, and assault LGBT+ well-meaning citizens of this country.”
“If you’re queer, an ally, or just a human being who isn’t wicked enough to actually think we deserve 14-years imprisonment for just existing, then I ask you to join me on this journey and send this message to the government:
Repeal the SSMPA,” he added.
In another tweet, he sought to remind followers of the colonial history of anti-gay and anti-LGBT+ laws in Nigeria and other countries: “Reminder that being LGBTQ+, isn’t Western. What is western is the homophobia we were taught by colonisers through religion.”
On his YouTube channel, For Fags Sake, Emmanuel creates “videos on queer issues while being fabulous