Nigeria: FG moves to ban same sex marriage

Daily Champion - Lagos
The Federal Government has approved a draft bill seeking to ban same sex marriages and relationships in the country. If enacted by the National Assembly, offenders face a five-year jail term without option of fine.
Besides, formation of association of homosexuals and lesbians as well as any form of protesting for rights recognition by the affected persons will be outlawed.
Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN) who briefed State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, said the move became necessary following the reported cases of the unnatural marriage in South Africa.

He explained that President Olusegun Obasanjo had expressed concern at the development in the former apartheid enclave, last year and requested his ministry to come up with the appropriate legal framework to forestal it happening in Nigeria.

The minister added that the draft bill which FEC approved after some amendments, would be forwarded to the National Assembly for passage into law.

"We all know that marriage is a unique institution between a man and a woman and this fact is universally acknowledged. It is also contained in the Holy Books. But in recent time, this incident of marriage or relationship between people of the same sex has been growing in the developed world.

"Just in December, this incident crossed over to South Africa, we got worried. Mr. President then thought it fit that we should bring a bill to council to prohibit the relationship and marriage between people of the same sex," he said.

Chief Ojo said various sections of the proposed act include validity and recognition of marriages, non-recognition of marriages of same sex, prohibition of marriages of same sex in any of the recognised places of worship like churches, mosques and customary courts.

He further explained that the state high courts and federal high courts would have jurisdiction over matters relating to same-sex marriage, even as he said that government could not afford an alien culture desecrate African long-held belief of holy marriage.

His words: "You know it is unAfrican for people of the same sex to contract any form of sexual relationship or marriage. This is why government is putting in place a legal framework to checkmate it straightway and ensure we don't have such incidents in the country."

Information and National Orientation Minister, Mr. Frank Nweke Jnr, who also spoke on the issue, said government considered Nigeria as a "basically conservative society" where all religious and culture abhor marriage between persons of same sex.

He added that the open canvassing for recognition by an advocacy rights group at December's summit on HIV/AIDS in Abuja informed the move by government to nip the practice in the bud.

Other decisions at the FEC meeting chaired by President Obasanjo include approval of N5.4 billion for the completion of Nassarawa-Loko road rehabilitation, N580 million for reconstruction and asphalt laying on Okigwe-Afikpo road and N440 million for Onitsha-Enugu road rehabilitation, according to Works Minister, Chief Adeseye.

Others are N2 billion for the Ota-Abeokuta road dualisation, N167.5 million for furnishing of the new office for the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and N63 million for consultancy by the Presidential Committee on Consolidation of Emoluments of Public Servants.

January 19, 2006, Copyright © 2006 Daily Champion