Amnesty International has warned that the law could have "catastrophic" consequences for Nigeria's gays [Reuters
Bill introduces long jail terms for gay marriage, public displays of same-sex relationships and belonging to gay groups.
|Nigeria has outlawed gay marriage, public displays of same-sex relationships, and belonging to gay groups with the passing of a law that has sparked international condemnation.|
President Goodluck Jonathan's spokesman, Reuben Abatim said on Monday that the president signed the bill because it was consistent with the attitudes of most people towards homosexuality in the west African nation.
"More than 90 percent of Nigerians are opposed to same-sex marriage. So, the law is in line with our cultural and religious beliefs as a people," he added.
"And I think that this law is made for a people and what [the] government has done is consistent with the preference of its environment."
Amnesty International urged Jonathan to reject the bill, calling it "discriminatory" and warning of "catastrophic" consequences for Nigeria's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Under the terms of the law, anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage or civil union can be sentenced to 14 years in prison while any such partnerships entered into abroad are deemed "void".
It also warns that anyone who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations or who directly or indirectly makes a public show of a same-sex relationship will break the law. Punishment is up to 10 years in prison, it adds.
"Only a marriage contract between a man and a woman shall be recognised as valid in Nigeria," the law states.
Nigeria is a highly religious society, with its 170 million people roughly divided in half between Christians and Muslims, though a significant number are also believed to follow regional religions.
The anti-gay law follows similar legislation in Uganda that was condemned by the US president, Barack Obama, as "odious". South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu compared it to apartheid.
BELOW IS MY TWO CENTS ON THE SAID LAW
There are mountainous heaps of debilitating ailments constricting the nation to a breathless stupor, but to the ever-clueless GEJ and our shiftless lawmakers, passing an inhumane anti-gay law was obviously peak of the Everest high in their pre-kindergarten heads and trumped ALL our dire problems that consistently thunders by the minute for a 911-like attention. And isn't this archaic law a clear violation of the basic human rights of some of our fellow citizens that the same President and lawmakers constitutionally swore to defend and uphold in their oath of office? Well, like GEJ once arrogantly declared..."I don't give a damn."
Yep, the President has umpteen times proven to us beyond any iota of doubt that he doesn't "give a damn" about the rights and well-being of the people of Nigeria who are not members of his family or his looting click. Neither does most of our selected "Rip-off-sentatives and Sinators." So, needless to say that the passing of this reprehensible law truly attributes their despicable resumé.
Folks, even though gay relationships contradicts my personal, traditional and spiritual belief systems, to stand on the sideline or hold my peace while such callous injustice of gross violation is being legally fomented against my sisters and brothers simply because of their sexual orientation without them having harmed or endangered anyone, would be a travesty on my part. It should be the selfsame on your part as well if you're reading this......coz the said law is outrageously ludicrous and has no place in any 21st century society. We owe it to ourselves and posterity to speak out against ALL societal ills......not just the ones that affects us directly.
I am aware that it's unfair to "toe to toe" matters of principles such as this with economic relevance, but was the immediate and long-term devastating impact this senseless law will indisputably have on our already severely battered economy due to the unabated cycle of corruption and looting in the government seriously taken into consideration by GEJ's administration prior to this decision? Just wondering!!
Heck, why am I even wondering? GEJ's motto is: "I DON'T GIVE A DAMN." Case closed!!!