by Oge Okonkwo
Human rights group, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has applauded the National Assembly for initiating the anti-gay bill which was recently signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The CLO describes the law as just and acceptable unlike some human rights groups across the world which are against the anti-gay laws in Nigeria calling it an infringement of human right.
Speaking to reporters from The Punch, the Executive Director of CLO, Ibuchukwu Ezike said the recently passed anti-gay law is commendable and accepted by Nigerians.
The Punch reports:
He said, “It’s a welcome development. If there is anything the National Assembly has got right since inception in 1999, the anti-gay law is one. If you are representing the people, you take decisions and make laws that the people will appreciate. The cultures and religions of Nigerians are against a man having an intimate relationship with another man; or a woman getting married to a woman.
“From creation, human beings were not made in such a way that a man can marry a man or a woman can sleep with a woman. If the National Assembly has promulgated a law that is in consonance with the desires of the people, then it is a just law and it is acceptable to the CLO.”
Ezike added that Nigeria, as a sovereign nation, could not be forced to conform to the norms of other nations.
He said, “It does not matter what the world is doing. Gay marriage is an aberration, which we cannot accept in our society. We cannot always copy what the world is doing. We can start our own and the world will copy us.”
The CLO boss however noted that, with the prevalence of unlawful arrests, detention and extrajudicial killings in the country, there was the possibility of the human rights abuses resulting from the enforcement of the anti-gay law.
He said human rights organisations, such as the CLO, would be on the lookout to ensure that nobody gets punished unjustly on account of the new law.
“That is where human rights organisations come in. If you say somebody committed a crime, you must prove it beyond anyreasonable doubt that the person did it,” he said.
The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act prescribes penalties of up to 14 years in jail for persons who engage in gay marriage, and up to 10 years for membership or encouragement of gay clubs and groups.
The law also prescribes a 10-year jail sentence for gay couples, who display affection in public. It also prescribes penalties for