Tuesday, 10 March 2009

That Same Gender Prohibition Bill Again

Nigerian gay rights activists and mainstream human rights organisations are intensifying their campaign against the Same-Gender Marriage Prohibition Bill at the forth-coming public hearing on the Bill. The Bill was passed into the lower chamber of the National Assembly at its second reading and currently sits on the laps of the Joint Committee on Human rights, Justice and Women's Affairs. Led by The Independent Project for Equal Rights (TIP), gay rights advocates plan to voice their opposition to the bill and press for legal protection of sexual minorities at the hearing. Nigeria is among the world's most dangerous environment for open advocacy for rights of homosexuals. "This current bill is more draconian than the 2006 bill as it discreetly aims to target human rights defenders through which I am affected along side my colleagues in human rights activism," said Joseph Sewedo Akoro.He points out that the bill will fuel human rights violation on the grounds of perceived or actual sexual orientation and gender identity expression in the country. The public hearing on the same-gender marriage prohibition bill is now scheduled to be held on March 11. The bill will receive lots of discussion, after which it may, or may not be passed by the lower chamber. If passed, the bill we go through the same process at the upper chamber before it is passed to the President for assent. TIP is mobilising a group of human rights organisations to attend the public hearing, to give presentations against the bill and inform the House of Representatives the potential effect of the bill to national development and their obligation to maintain peace and orderliness in the country. If the bill is passed, human rights groups are concerned that the Bill will criminalise sexual minorities and their advocates. The Young Humanistas Network in Nigeria described recent remarks of Ojo Madueke, Nigeria's Minister for Foreign Affairs, denying the existence of a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in the country as being "economical with the truth".


WhozHe said...

I will never understand why people who are straight are worried about what other people do sexually. Perhaps the marriage act is more of an economic thing than a moral one. I doubtt it.

Anengiyefa said...

Hi WhozHe, thanks for stopping by. Actually, although I'm not an expert in these matters, I tend to think that it is those who are insecure in their own sexuality, who are inclined to be hostile towards others whom they perceive to be different. Many stable heterosexual people do not feel threatened by gay people. In the case of Nigeria in particular, attitudes are formed through religious indoctrination and from a lack of information. Most Nigerians have not had the privilege of interacting at any level with people who identify as gay, because gay Nigerians are compelled to live their lives pretending to be otherwise, in order to get on in life and in society. I suspect that if the correct information concerning homosexuality is made available to the generality of the population, attitudes will be different. However, it is exactly this that this heinous bill seeks to prevent and this portends a future of perpetual ignorance that is enshrined in the law. A very sad prospect indeed.

In my view, morality has nothing at all to do with a person's sexual orientation.

Occupied Funk said...

Its the dark ages in Nigeria

Anengiyefa said...

Hello Occupied Funk, welcome to my blog. Its a privilege having you on here. I'm in total agreement. Enlightenment is long overdue in Nigeria.

Anonymous said...

This really can't be tackled in isolation, the general curbing of the influence of religion and its "respected" heads needs to be tackled, to allow the state to function in a productive manner ie putting the "secular" back into the title of a secular state. Without this, you haven't really tackled the problem.

Although South Africa's history is radically different from that of Nigeria's, that is an example of sexual minorities being incorporated into the fabric of a nation in sub-Saharan Africa. The country is not perfect but there are some useful lessons to be learned there.

I can now liken Nigeria, to hunters going to shoot ducks out of the sky, "it's open season on gays/lesbians etc" for all who want to take a pop at someone they don't like, they can always throw the excuse that the person is suspected of not being straight, and nothing will be done about. How chilling.

Naijadude said...

In Nigeria homosexuality is still a stigma, due to ignorance and lack of education about sexuality. We still live under the shadow/hypocrisy of the religious doctrines!
Whoever that will see beyond that is whoever that chose to see... right now I guess people are rather safe being ignorant of it all...while they watch the flagarant human rights abuse!!