Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Human Rights, Nigeria, Queer Politics, Same Sex Marriage

Nigeria presents new homophobic Bill

After postponing the Same Sex Marriage Bill in March 2007, the Government has now presented a new Bill “The Same Gender Prohibition Bill” which has now been passed by the Lower House of Representatives. This is horrendous that a democracy in 2009 can pass such repressive and bigoted legislation to criminalise what is effectively the private lives of LGBT Nigerians in and outside the country. Whatever views people have on same sex relationships the fact is the Bill not only contravenes all international and African Union human rights legislation, it is also inhumane and has no place in a 21st century democracy. Full details of the Bill to be published later.

Links: Same Sex Marriage Bill

This report in the Sun provides background to the thinking behind the Bill and show the influence of religion and the ignorance and misinformation around HIV/AIDs which they claim is spread through sodomy. Of course this then explains why so many women are HIV+

“It is time for us at this point in time to think back and look at the scourge of HIV/AIDS. The greatest means of transmitting this disease is through the act of ‘sodomy’. Young children are already victims of been lured into this cruel and unimaginable act. It is an act of perversion.”

Nonetheless although the Bill bans same sex marriage in Nigeria much of the worst aspects of the previous Same Sex Marriage Bill have been omitted. For example those sections which criminalise LGBTI organisations and groups

Prohibition of Registration of Gay Clubs and Societies and Publicity of same sex sexual relationship.

(1) Registration of Gay Clubs, Societies and organizations by whatever name they are called in institutions from Secondary to the tertiary level or other institutions in particular and, in Nigeria generally, by government agencies is hereby prohibited…..

(3) Any person who is involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations, sustenance, procession or meetings, publicity and public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly in public and in private is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a term of 5 years imprisonment.

And the public show of same sex relationships which could include this and any other blog which comments…

(2) Publicity, procession and public show of same sex amorous relationship through the electronic or print media physically, directly, indirectly or otherwise are prohibited in Nigeria.

26 Comments

  1. How can one have a debate with those that are not civilised? A non African will no doubt be labelled racist yet our people claim to be children of the cosmos but fail to see their own siblings. Protection from discrimination based on gender, religion, race, sexual orientation is basic and until laws protect all, a state of war in the primordial sense will always exist in awkward Nigeria.

    Beautys last blog post..Again, Is Obama serious enough?

  2. It boils down to all the clinging to the cultural beliefs. It’s fine if t they have mistresses and cheat on thier wives. It’s fine if they do child marriage but no it’s not fine when people exercise thier fundamental human rights. Such backwardness!

  3. tari

    I have lived in east africa for so many years and have lived in britain for a couple of years. What i have noticed is that the homosexuals have had a hard time being accepted and it is only now recently that they have been allowed to even get married. I am assuming that being gay in britain so many years ago was totally unacceptable and even today although there is more tollerance, the discrimination still goes on. So i am thinking that in the case of africa where the culture is still very strong and instilled in people, it’s going to take a while.In africa, we are where britain was so many years ago and we can not take a gigantic step to reach a level of tollerance the british have on homosexuality now in such a short period of time.It’s easy if you have travelled away from home and have seen waht it is like in other places, but because of ignorance at home, which i hold against no one because africa is developing, it is hard fo them to understand. Even if the government did not pass that law or bill, the families and friends of the homosexuals will still discriminate them. It’s a process every country or continent goes through and i would stay we still are at level 1 of this process. Awareness and desensitization has to begin this painful and long process.

  4. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    tari@ Your comment makes the assumption that homosexuality is something that just started in the country whereas it has always existed so as such is very much part of this thing called culture. Remember that LGBTI people are protected under the constitution in SA where in addition SSM was legalised in December 2006. What is particularly objectionable about this Bill in Nigeria is the language used in it’s defense (see the update on this post) and the ignorance around the spread of HIV/AIDS. For sure even if SSM was permitted there would still be hostility towards LGBTI people in the country but by decriminalising you begin a process of changing attitudes. Right now there is so much ignorance, bigotry and denial of peoples rights but as Activists states – these do not apply to the sexual abuse of children through early marriage, use of children as domestics and other forms of labour or men cheating on their wives – these are accepted but peoples rights are not?

  5. Sokari,

    I cannot even begin to express my disappointment at this. Right now, the Kenyan parliament have a Marriage Bill http://www.mzalendo.com/Bills.Details.php?ID=40
    in the works that is as insidious, and, so far, has received little media attention.

    Still we continue because we must, even from the other side of the oceans.

    By any chance do you have pdf copies of the bills, both the earlier one and this one? If so, I’d love to get copies.

    Keguros last blog post..Eulogy: 1982

  6. So i am thinking that in the case of africa where the culture is still very strong and instilled in people, assumes too much and sonds like an excuse for Homophobia. It is not acceptable in Africa today. Social progress enables technology but lack of or incomplete education is dangerous in the age of peer to peer.

    Should a tolerant society tolerate intolerance? By that, some people have turned Africa into an intolerant society that will destroys itself! Religious fears led to great brutality as fear always does. This discrimination against gays and lesbians will be back to hurt future Africans, and those are words for history.

    Beautys last blog post..Again, Is Obama serious enough?

  7. tari

    Homosexuality has always been there for ages and i am aware of that. The sensitiztion and awareness process has not long started. For how long has africa had all this television and mobile and internet means of communication? The thing is people at home even if they are homosexuals or know people who are they still see it as unnacceptable. Now, how do you make people understand that it is ok to be a homosexual in such a short period of time. And my belief is that black people find being homosexual unusual for them. They think it is for white people. True, there are people in africa who will have the guts to come out but what about those who still feel embarrassed about it. I have heard of the term, ‘down- low’ in America where the black men have same sex intercourse but still do not consider themselves homosexuals and are married to women. So, if in developed America they still have such perceptions, how about Africa? All i am saying is that it is going to take time before a major change takes place in africa regarding homosexuality. May be the fight starts here with you. But my belief is that regardless of what the government does, if the people do not feel it is ok within themselves, then there’s a long and painful battle ahead. With our african dictators, it will make it much harder. I do agree with all you are saying, just pointing out something i feel strongly about(sensitizing people and desensitizing them)

  8. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Beauty@ On acceptability – whilst consensual sex between adults of the same sex is not acceptable – and they speak of pedophilia but forced marriage of young girls some as young as 13 which causes them long term psychological, emotional and medical damage is acceptable!

  9. tari

    I know the publicity has been stopped which is going to be hard to educate the people about homosexuality but like all human rights fights, there’s got to be sacrifices to try and achieve a goal. My view is, if the people being fought for are not empowered and are not fully aware of what they are and how normal it is, then how do we win this? I would compare this to building a house with a weak foundation which will end up collapsing. I am not saying that the law passed is ok, all am saying is that if this fighting process is not done properly, starting with the people who are gay and making them confident to join and come out to fight, then i do not know how it’s going to be done. But this feels like a dillema especially with the government getting involved and so harshly.

  10. CodliverOil

    From the extracts published on this page, it seems vindictive and vicious and nasty. I’ve not heard of any other country in the world taking such a extreme and hateful stance on this matter.

    Nigeria really is mired in the dark ages in all aspects of development. This simply confirms it.

    I’m surprised the views here are so moderate and tolerant, usually Nigerians just “go into one” (frenzy), basing their flawed arguments on select religious quotations to justify their stance.

    The sooner it is repealed the better.

  11. i hav never been apologetic in opposing the attempt to carry the issue of rights to the extreme.elementary law teaches us that no right is absolute.Of course sokari cannot claim that gay people are being stripped of ALL rights.The fact is they will always enjoy the most fundamental of rights-life ,liberty ,movement and the likes.But this is an issue of societal preservation.Law cannot be divorced from morality;and itt is the ethos of the society that determines the content of its laws.Decriminalising SSM and sodomy will not have the effect of changing attitudes asa sokari claims.Decriminalisation will come from the people themselves.When the society has come to a level where such practices become feely practised ,then what parliament does is simply to put a stamp of approval on what has already become commonplace.As of now ,i havnt seen that happen and until then ,i hold that w have the right ,nay obligatiion to guard our maral integrity as a people ,even if it is termed retriogressive by some.

    jamius last blog post..NORTHERN PREMIERSHIP

  12. chew

    Jamius:
    Your moral right is to deprive people of their human right? What is immoral about a man realising that he finds a man and not a woman attractive? Something he can’t help, or you think people just wake up and decide to wear the “immoral garb” just for the heck of it? May we be saved from ignorance!

  13. jane

    even if they made homosexuality legal our moral standing in nigeria will still not let gay people come ut freely and marry, so i dont know why there’s an outcry

  14. chew ,talking about ignorance ,consider the following and rate your level of education on the subject.Firstly ask a first year law student on the limits of human rights and he is likely to tell you that the right to assemble freely or association under the law is limited by the need to protect PUBLIC ORDER and MORALITY.Nobody aims to arrest two adults for having sex in private.so dont talk about human rights like its some kind of magic wand that excuses every action.
    Secondly perhaps you need to undertake some research on the explanation for SEXUAL DEVIANCE (yes,thats what its called ) and youll find out that it has not been proved beyond doubt that homosexuality is a natural inclination.waiing for you to respond based on FACTUAL information

    jamius last blog post..NORTHERN PREMIERSHIP

  15. so i dont know why there’s an outcry Universal Declaration on Human Rights-English Version is a reason for the outcry. We all live on the same planet where man made laws are not enabling progress. A pandemic hiting Africa would not discriminate against gays and lesbians, everyone dies! So you see why we have zero time for discrimination.

    Beautys last blog post..Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN

  16. I’m surprised the views here are so moderate and tolerant, usually Nigerians just “go into one” (frenzy), basing their flawed arguments People here are all probably gays! Now, just watch the animals come out of people from that stupid statement.

    Beautys last blog post..Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN

  17. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Jane @ “our moral standing” if this was not serious I would be bowled over laughing. What moral standing allows young girls from age 13 to be forced into marriage or allows children as young as 4 to work as domestic servants sorry slaves! what moral standing wholeheartedly condones marital infidelity? What moral standing has a “torture” officer in each police station? to name just a few.

    Beauty @ 🙂

  18. tanya

    Tari: “all am saying is that if this fighting process is not done properly, starting with the people who are gay and making them confident to join and come out to fight”

    Well Tari don’t you think this is now a bit of an ask when what you are doing is not only demonised by stupid uninformed mass media like the Sun but is now completely illegal? Do you know Sokari what sort of sentencing someone would get if they are involved in a march of meeting or “public show of same sex amorous relationship DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY”

    I guess we shall sadly soon see.

    The door is obviously now wide open for the most awful abuses…it is amazing and awful it has been created in 2009.

  19. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    ‘Tanya@ Reading the new bill (unlike the 2006 one which was shelved) it would not be illegal to be involved in “a march of meeting or “public show of same sex amorous relationship DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY”. However you would be putting yourself at risk of violence and possibly arrest under some other law.

  20. romain

    Hello,

    Im French and im so scandalised by this site….
    You are Afro-Americain and youre not really Africain because you’ve not see this continent so chut up..no you are americain a fucking americain

  21. Of course sokari cannot claim that gay people are being stripped of ALL rights.The fact is they will always enjoy the most fundamental of rights-life ,liberty ,movement and the likes. What about if we pass a law mandating all homosx to wear dog collars? At least we gave them something.

    Beautys last blog post..Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN

  22. anengiyefa

    I’m not surprised by this, seeing as Nigerians have been totally overrun by archaic European ideas acquired from the colonialists and their missionaries. Homosexuality has always existed in Africa. In the old days, homosexual men and women were revered in many African societies, being seen as possessing the spirit of both the male and the female. Many societies believed that such people posesed mystical powers. Our ancestors were wont to ascribe such explanations to matters which they didnt fully unserstand. There is no tradition of homophobia anywhere in African culture.

    The malicious homophobia that we are seeing in Nigeria is a direct consequence of our people embracing the ideas of Victorian era Europe. Europe has moved on, but in Nigeria we seem to be stuck in the 19th Century. In more ways than one, this failure to evolve along with the rest of the world is the reason for our backwardness and under-development. A very sad development indeed.

  23. I am shocked that I missed this news. I am even more shocked that any bills passed in the House of Reps given that they are already behind schedule for the year according to their Speaker, Bankole Dimeji.

    NIGERIAN CURIOSITY
    IT WAS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN I ONLY HAD ONE…

  24. well i think gay or what ever u call it is not right, most of them look funny …i hv been to more than 14 nations,there way of life is wrong . despite the fact that we cant hurt them coz of there choice, the have no place in an african way of life . Apart of the bad leaders in africa ..the west still envy our way of life. people who think that learning evil from them is the right thing is making a grave mistake. let’s hold up to our morals. In our quest for freedom of choice let rem that there is heaven and that affections is great when directed to nature given style.

  25. roi

    firstly i’m nigerian, i’m gay and i’m not ashamed in the slightest. i have 2 points to make here, the first being this morality rubbish that is going around coming from a country that tops the list of corrupt nations. immorality is when leaders sell books that are supposed to be free, it is when you make a gay man marry a wife, go out and sleep with men and pass aids on to his wife, immorality is children forced to be sex slaves in the name of tradition, it is when a freedom of information bill is deemed inappropriate for a country NOT WHEN TWO CONSENTING ADULTS DO WHAT EVERY CONSENTING ADULT IS ALLOWED TO DO.

    besides this argument about homosexuality in nigeria is strictly religious in my opinion not about morality. but in the case of religion, the bible clearly condemns fornication but i dont see the bill banning that do u? a few years ago, the message in nigeria regarding sex was abstinence, today its protection, nigerians naturally are very easily influenced, one small minded agrument and everyone is on the band wagon, no debate no nothing.

    but finally and most importantly, look back in time and see every situation where a part of society was discriminated against, whether in america or england or anywhere, what happens is that the more d segregation, the more people feel CONNECTED for the plight of suffering people and eventually a louder voice ll be formed.
    so i say NIGERIA SAY NO NOW, THE REASON IS SIMPLE, WE NEED ALL THE HELP WE CAN GET TO GET RID OF THESE FAT BASTARDS THAT CHOSE TO FOOL YOU. TELL EM YOU CAN SEE RIGHT THROUGH IT AND IT DOESN’T LOOK GOOD

  26. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    @roi – Thanks for your comment. You are absolutely right, Nigerian lawmakers and religious leaders have a selective and distorted sense of morality in their approach towards homosexuality in the country. If only they would use their energy to deal with corruption etc rather than interfering in people’s personal lives.