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A gay rights activist, Bisi Alimi, caused a stir on Wednesday as he mocked Nigeria on the Facebook.
Alimi, the first Nigerian to declare publicly his support for same sex union, noted that the country “will go down soon unless it stopped praying to God and started acting”.
He wrote from the United Kingdom where he is on a self-imposed exile.
Soon after his comment, which many considered unpatriotic, was published, hundreds of Nigerians responded on Facebook, blogs, Twitter and Instagram.
Responding from Abuja, one Chinelo Peters described the words used by Alimi as derogatory and unpatriotic.
He urged him to channel his energy into a positive cause that could impact on the country instead of complaining from the UK.
Peters said on Facebook, “You are a Nigerian but in an asylum in the UK. Why do you refer to Nigeria as ‘that country?’ If you do not like something and you are passionate about doing it differently, you need to champion the change you desire. Come back home to assist. It is inappropriate to describe your country with derogatory adjectives.”
He also urged Alimi to study the lives of people who had effected changes in different parts of the world, saying they were individuals who never cast aspersion on their countries.
Another Facebook user, Allwell Opara, said Alimi would not have used an “abusive” language against his country if he had a proper understanding of the stages the UK facilities he used to assess Nigeria went through.
According to Opara, patriotic citizens built the UK, not the likes of Alimi.
Opara added, “It is so sad that this is coming from someone I thought would be more reasonable and sensible on social media. If Nigeria is cursed, it means every Nigerian, including Alimi, is cursed. No matter how long you live abroad, the blood of a Nigerian flows in your veins. We love our country while we hope for a change one day.”
Even those who agreed with Alimi’s conclusion condemned his words, describing them as “offensive and unbecoming of a civilised individual”.
For instance, a foreigner, Thierry Limpens, said, “You analysed right but I will not use the same words.”
Besides urging Nigerians “to stop praying and start acting”, Alimi noted, “Nigeria is not an experiment.”
He added, “Some idiots will come here now and start posting how their God is going to redeem them. Okay, here is the thing: if there is, indeed, anything like hell fire, it is in Nigeria where all Nigerians are roasting. So, if you want to remind someone that they will go to hell fire when they die, you might as well link it to your current experience.”
Describing Nigerians as hypocrites, he asked why God had not intervened in their affairs if he truly existed. According to him, it is either God does not exist or that He has given up on the country 50 years ago.
Alimi, a Theatre Arts graduate, had revealed that power and Internet challenges had frustrated the conduct of an online interview he scheduled with a Nigerian TV on Tuesday and Wednesday.
It was on this basis that the self-confessed gay went to Facebook to ‘teach’ Nigeria how it could overcome its challenges.
Alimi is not a stranger to controversies. He had received international attention in 2004 when he admitted during an NTA programme – New Dawn with Funmi – that he was a gay.
He also had a running battle with his alma mater, the University of Lagos, which threatened to withhold his certificate.
The university had claimed that he “was not going to be a worthy alumnus” of the institution.
Many had linked the move to have the same sex marriage prohibition law in Nigeria in 2006 to the controversy generated by Alimi’s interview with the NTA.