Why this is Important
The Nigerian lawmakers are attempting to pass a bill titled “An Act to Prohibit Marriage between Persons of Same Gender, Solemnization Of Same And For Other Matters Related Therewith” The bill aims to further criminalized same sex relationship and marriage.
Under Nigeria’s criminal code and penal code, consensual same sex conduct between adults is a criminal offense. Chapter 42, section 214 of Nigeria’s criminal code provides a sentence of fourteen years imprisonment for "carnal knowledge against the order of nature". The Sharia law, widely practiced in Northern Nigeria prescribed death penalty for homosexual conducts.
The proposed bill violates fundamental human rights that are guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution and various human rights international agreements that Nigeria is a signatory to. This bill could lead to political and social harassment of people for their actual or imputed sexual orientation. It could also stifle freedom of expression and association through the proposed ban on organizations that support Lesbians and gay rights.
The bill could further affect Nigeria Human rights records, many including the police would use it as a license to intimidate and harass citizens based on their actual or suspected sexual orientation. The passing of the bill would give official validation to the harassment of sexual minorities and many homophobic persons would use it as a license to discriminate against lesbians and gays. Hate crime are not uncommon in Nigeria.
Please sign the letter below to urge Nigerian lawmakers to decriminalize Same sex relationship, stop the proposed anti same sex marriage bill and uphold fundamental human rights of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals transsexuals in Nigeria. Thank you.
SIGN the petition HERE on Change.org
Following failed attempts in 2006 and 2008, Nigerian lawmakers are resurrecting a version of a widely condemned anti-homosexuality bill, now entitled: "An Act to Prohibit Marriage between Persons of Same Gender, Solemnization Of Same And For Other Matters Related Therewith".
Read the bill here:
Sign the petition against the ban on same-sex marriage
"The new Nigerian bill aims to further criminalise same sex relationships and marriage," said Nigerian Yemisi Ilesanmi, coordinator of the campaign: Nigerian LGBT in the Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws.
"Lawmakers are fast tracking the bill. The bill has already passed its second reading. A public hearing is scheduled for Monday 31st October, 2011. However, there are concerns within the Nigerian LGBT community that the recent bomb blasts in the country could be used as a pretext to deny public access to the hearing.
"Under Nigeria's criminal code and penal code, consensual same sex conduct between adults is already a criminal offence carrying up to 14 years imprisonment and in some parts of the country, the death penalty under Sharia law.
"The proposed bill violates fundamental human rights that are guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution and various human rights international agreements that Nigeria is a signatory to.
"This bill would lead to harassment of people for their actual or imputed sexual orientation. It would also stifle freedom of expression and association through the proposed ban on organizations that support lesbian and gay rights.
"The passing of the bill would give official validation to the harassment of sexual minorities and many homophobic persons would use it as a license to discriminate against lesbians and gays," said Ms Ilesanmi.
The bill states -
1.-(1) Marriage Contract entered between persons of same Gender is hereby prohibited in Nigeria.
(3) Marriage Contract entered between persons of same gender by virtue a certificate issued by a foreign country shall be void in Nigeria, and any benefits accruing there from by virtue of the certificate shall not be enforced by any court of law in Nigeria."
It further states: "Same Gender Marriage" means the coming together of persons of the same sex with the purpose of leaving together as husband and wife or for other purposes of same sexual relationship."
Read the Bill in full here:
Coordinator - Nigerian LGBT in the Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws
Tel- +44 (0) 7577749875
Some human rights organizations in Nigeria have condemned the bill, The Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Rights in its press statement said: "We wish to remind the parliament that, Nigeria is a secular state. Therefore, implicating that laws of our land cannot and should not be drafted and/or enact on the basis of religious and cultural value. This value already differ as Nigeria is a heterogeneous society, hence our federal system of government."
Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center argues that: "the bill violates the fundamental rights guaranteed under Nigerian law and other regional and international human rights norms signed and adopted by Nigeria, people must have a right to be who they want to be ! There are other pressing issues that the government should focus on than a discriminatory law of this nature!"
International Center on Advocacy on Rights to Health (ICARH) stated: "LGBTI Rights are Human Rights. Let us stand up for Equal Rights."
A petition was created by Yemisi Ilesanmi, coordinator of the campaign Nigerian LGBT in the Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws. Read and sign the petition here: http://www.change.org/
Justice for Gay Africans, a UK-based collaborative of activists, artists, and academics wrote on the petition: "Please sign this all... it is essential to make sure we use the democratic access we have to affect how our communities are governed"
John Adewoye, a Nigerian in USA wrote: "I am gay, not a criminal"
Davis Mac-Iyalla a Nigeria born Gay/Human Rights Defender based in London said, "Homosexuality is currently illegal in Nigeria, this bill if passed will lead to increased arrests and abuse of anyone suspected to be gay. It's my nature to be Gay so stop using the law to oppress me and my nature."
Rowland Jide Macaulay, a Christian Theologian and Founder of House of Rainbow Fellowship an inclusive Christian organisation, wrote: "I am Gay, Proud Nigerian, my family love me and we love our nation. This bill will not only criminalise gays and lesbian, it will dehumanise and break up families."
The Nigerian LGBT community, with international support, has been successful in quashing this bill twice, but now needs international support to throw out this bill once and for all.
In its latest international newsletter, the UK trade union, UNISON, wrote:
"The proposed bill violates fundamental human rights that are guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution and numerous human rights international agreements that Nigeria has ratified. The passing of the bill would legitimize the rampant incidences of homosexual-targeted hate crimes that occur in Nigeria. It would also give official validation to the social and political harassment of sexual minorities. UNISON denounces this attempt to curtail basic human rights within the LGBT community and their allies. We are asking members to please sign this petition urging the Nigerian government to decriminalize same sex relationships, stop the proposed bill and uphold the fundamental human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Nigeria.
Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights lobby, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, wrote: "This proposed new law violates the African Charter on Human and People's Rights and other international human rights laws that Nigeria has signed and pledged to uphold."