If this bill becomes law, in whatever shape or form, it will effectively double the criminal sanctions to which Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) are currently subject in Nigeria This will increase everyday violence against this minority group, as well as extortion, threats and even fatal attack.
The Same-sex Marriage Prohibition Bill stipulates a jail term of 14 years each for offenders and 10 years for supporters and witnesses. This is in addition to the already existing seven-year prison sentence attached to criminalization of homosexuality in the country’s penal code. These laws give no regard to the natural rights of individuals born in the way they are and by no fault of their making.
The Bill goes further to incriminate the operation of gay clubs, societies and organisations thereby hindering the right to freedom of expression. In so doing, Nigeria is setting itself up to become a democratic dictatorship by oppressing the right to expression and association, some of the most fundamental rights of citizenship.
We call on the international bodies, especially civil societies in which Nigeria has participated, to strongly oppose the passage of this bill into law and, if necessary, sanction Nigeria seriously for disregarding the rights of her citizens.
The Constitution of Nigeria states:
34(1) Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person…
35(1) Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty…
37 The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations…
39(1) Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression…”
42(1) A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:-
(a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject; or
(2) No citizen of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstances of his birth.
With regard to LGBT people, all the above rights enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution have been and continues to be mitigated or annulled through flagrant abuses of power and disregard of rights.
We call on the Nigerian government to halt this abusive and oppressive bill and repeal all such laws as Sections 214, 215 and 217 of the Criminal (Penal) Code which criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity.