Last week, they tabled a bill that would make marrying someone of the same sex a crime punishable by 14 years in jail. Not that the practice is prevalent in Nigeria — it’s already illegal.
Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, the bill’s sponsor, claims, “The country, our culture, tradition and the religions are against it. Same sex marriage has negative effect on the health of anyone that is involved in it … It is very unfortunate that the Western countries want to force their culture on us.”
One Islamic cleric believes the sentence isn’t tough enough. Malam Abdulkadir Apaokagi is calling for the death penalty and mistreatment of the corpse.
An editorial in The Vanguard, one of the country’s oldest newspapers, depicts the international furore as knee-jerk colonialism while painting homosexuality as unNigerian.
Suddenly, Britain, Canada, and human rights group are openly interested in Nigeria. The issue is the same-sex bill that the Senate has passed. They consider it anti-people; they want to punish Nigeria for it …
[But] we are Nigerians; we have values and rights that are different from the West. We are proud of those values, which we should not throw away because of threats from societies that want to compromise others to decadent practices on which they have built their places.
Writing on the website All Africa, Muhammad Al-Ghazali believes old-time religion is the only answer.
The accounts of what transpired in Sodom and Gomorrah on the perils of homosexuality and other forms of social depravity are well documented in our religious books. For those who practice Islam, the issue is even more iron-cast. Homosexuality and lesbianism rank highest among the unpardonable sins listed in the Koran and the Hadith. The issue appears to be a taboo even among the animists in our midst. If it were not, the world would have known of their violent protests at any form of prohibition of abnormal sexual tendencies by now.
Therefore, if anything, the attempt to force acceptance of any form of homosexuality or same sex marriages down the throats of Nigerians is a major distraction in the way they related with the same God to whom they flock to seek refuge from their earthly woes even as they continue to seek answers to their worsening social and economic conditions that confronts them on a daily basis.
At PM News, Godwin Onyeacholem wonders why Nigerian lawmakers are so concerned about gays, given all the other problems the country faces.
Right-thinking people have to question the propriety in the speedy passage of gay laws in a society where about 80 per cent can hardly afford one decent meal every day. How, for instance, will banning same sex union create jobs, reduce poverty, upgrade security and rebuild dilapidated infrastructure littered across the country? In what ways will this law impact positively on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in which Nigeria has been shown to be embarrassingly several miles behind less endowed countries like Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda and Malawi?
Were our senators duly cognizant of their briefs, they would know that there is a legion of existential problems plaguing Nigerians today than taking note of the sexual lives of individuals.
Funke Aboyade at the daily newspaper This Day interviews Yemisi Ilesanmi, a bisexual Nigerian lawyer and a brave woman.
“Sexual orientation is something we are all born with. Many researchers, doctors, psychologists and scientists have done enough research on the topic and have come to the conclusion backed by indisputable evidence that sexual orientation is not a choice, it is not a disease, it is not a disorder but just like skin colour, left handedness, eye colour, we are born with our sexual orientation,” she insists.
Her view therefore is that the bill passed by the Nigerian Senate last week punishes people for what is essentially not their making.
“It’s like punishing a black person for being black, punishing a left-handed child because he or she cannot write with the right hand or punishing a baby girl for being born a girl. This is unfair and inhuman!”
Speaking as a lawyer she says, “the bill contradicts fundamental human rights under the Nigeria Constitution, as well as international and regional human rights law and standards.”
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