Nigeria: Meet Olumide Makanjuola, a Nigerian activist fighting for women and LGBTI rights

In Nigeria, there are two groups of people who often get the short end of the stick  -  women and LGBTI people.

There are commonly held beliefs that prevent women from getting the same rights and respect as their male counterparts. As a result, they are often discriminated and treated less than human, the recent arrest and alleged sexual harassment of some women by Policemen in Abuja comes to mind.

t’s not just about legalising same-sex marriage for me. You can legalise it and people still do not have equal rights. For instance, South Africa has some of the best equality laws in the world but lesbians are still getting raped on a daily basis by men who think they can change their sexual orientation.
— Olumide Makanjuola

On the other hand, we have the LGBTI, who face their fair share of discrimination with laws like the federal Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act of 2014 which says anyone found guilty of homosexuality faces up to 14 years in prison. There is also the Shari'a law practised in 12 northern states which imposes a penalty of death by stoning.

These two make up the minority group that Olumide Femi Makanjuola, a Nigerian activist is desperately trying to help. His fight for women and LGBTI rights started in 2005. Since then, he has been honoured by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and has become a prominent champion for minority rights in Nigeria.

He is is the former Executive Director of the Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) and currently serves as the Programs Director at the Initiative Sankofa D'Afrique de L'ouest (ISDAO), a new West African Philanthropic fund that is working to ensure a just and inclusive West Africa free from violence and discrimination.

In a chat with Business Insider SSA by Pulse, Makanjuola talks about his advocacy for women and LGBTI rights and current same sex laws in Africa.

Here is the full interview, edited and condensed for clarity. Read more via Business Insider