Human rights activist Joseph Sewedo highlights the main sections of the Nigerian SSMB and points out that all Nigerians are impacted by this law.
1. Homosexuality between men has been illegal in Nigeria for almost a century. And in northern Nigeria (no thanks to Sharia law), homosexuality between men and women is been criminalized with penalty up to death sentence. Hence this Bill is not dealing with that.
2. The marriage Act in Nigeria expressly allows for union between (1) Man and (1) Woman and only in the application of the customary law is polygamous heterosexual union made legal. In no way does it permit same-sex union.
3. In my whole existence in life (26 years!), never did I hear of any Nigerian protesting to marry another person of the same-sex. Human rights groups of which I am part, only demanded for protection of the rights of persons who are gender non-conforming and those with homosexual tendencies. This is based on the fact that homosexual and other gender non-conforming persons are HUMAN by all standards.
4. With my very modest travel experience in Nigeria (20 of 36 states), never did I hear about or by chance visit a gay “anything”. Neither a bar, nor a club!
5. Gay association or organization? To my knowledge, none existed legally. Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) would not register any. CAUTION: NGOs serving “homosexuals” are not necessarily gay associations or organizations; they are either Human rights organizations or Health care service providers.
So what is this Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Law about?
1. Victimization will extend from just the homosexuals to every persons associated with them. This implies that anyone with the slightest appearance or show of natural affection to person of same-sex albeit related, will be liable to imprisonment under this law.
2. Friends or relatives who- for economic hardship in Nigeria, are forced to co-habit will be victims of blackmail and extortion.
3. Impunity perpetrated by the Police will increase. All those Lagos boys wearing skinny jeans and shagging their pant. Ah! I shake my head.
4. Heterosexual relationships will become more pathetic as there will be increase in forced marriages and practice of a double (fake) life. Homosexuals (men and women) will be sadly engaged to persons of the opposite sex and end in a very miserable relationship, many which will have a negative impact of their children- if they have any.
5. As the campaigns for 2015 elections approach, politicians will be hunted with this law. In no doubt, this law will be used as an instrument of political blackmail.
6. Families will suffer emotional turbulence (to mention a few).
While in no doubt, this Law seeks to further criminalize same-sex relationships in Nigeria, it is clear it will have greater impact on non-homosexual persons who are not used to living “sexually” restrictive life. Homosexuals have always being in the closet and they will continue to do so “conveniently” but unfortunately. In essence, this (Law) is not only detrimental to those “bloody homosexuals” but to the general citizenry. Thus let’s join forces to say NO TO HATE IN NIGERIA. Please kindly follow me on twitter @sewedo_akoro and twitter #NO28in9JA: venting your concerns.