Blank NEWS Online reports that Governor of Nigeria’s oil rich Delta state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has in Dublin, Ireland, stoutly defended the law forbidding gay marriage in Nigeria, likening it to pedophilia, a psychiatric disorder, in which an adult has sexual interest in children and hence a taboo in the Western world.
He expressed surprised at the reactions that have trailed the President Jonathan’s assent to the bill, saying that “there was a public hearing by the National Assembly and we are not aware of their opposition to this bill. What happened was that a lot of Nigerians appeared and made submission in favour of it. So it is a surprise that after the bill has been passed, we are now facing this opposition by the international community.
While accusing the international community of double standard, Governor Uduaghan opined that anyone who wishes to be married to a gay is free to migrate to the country, where it is acceptable, insisting that gay marriage offends the cultural norms of Nigerians and that it can be likened pedophilia.
Uduaghan told the international community, which had Ireland’s minister of trade and foreign investment, Mr. Joe Costello, while receiving an International Leadership Award from Metro Eireann, Ireland’s major multicultural newspaper.
Governor Uduaghan, reacting to comments during the ceremony, maintained that the law was popular and that Nigerians accept it. “I am sure no one here in this country would accept a condition in which an adult can sleep with a 10 year old girl. If that situation is not acceptable, we in Nigeria view gay marriage as such,” he said.
Uduaghan who received thunderous applause for his strong position on this issue by a large Nigerian audience, explained that marriage in Nigeria is viewed as union between families. “In Nigeria marriage between two people is usually between a man and a woman and not just between them but between their families too.
“Whenever a couple come together, they are not coming together by themselves, it almost involves their different families and if it is known that in that family there are married gays, the danger is that the taboo emanating from that might even affect others who are straight and that is not right.”
Recall that the Senate previously passed the bill in November 2011. Lawmakers in Nigeria’s House of Representatives affirmed the decision by the Senate on May 29, 2013 while the President assented to the Act on January 7, 2014.
President Jonathan’s signing of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill into law however foreclosed any pressure on him not to assent to the bill.
The assent note reads:
“I certify that this Bill has been carefully compared by me with the decision reached by the National Assembly and found by me to be true and correct decision of the Houses and is in accordance with the provisions of the Acts Authentication Act Cap. A2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. I assent.”
Abstracts from the Act reads:
“A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex: (a) is prohibited in Nigeria; and (b) shall not be recognized as entitled to the benefits of a valid marriage.
“A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex by virtue of a certificate issued by a foreign country is void in Nigeria, and any benefit accruing there-from by virtue of the certificate shall not be enforced by any court of law.
“A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex shall not be sole nixed in a church, mosque or any other place of worship of Nigeria.
“No certificate issued to persons of same sex in a marriage or civil union shall be valid in Nigeria. Only a marriage contracted between a man and a woman shall be recognized as valid in Nigeria.
“The registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations, their sustenance, processions and meetings is prohibited.
“The public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly is prohibited.”
The Act also stipulates the volume of the sanctions awaiting the violators of the new law.
“A person who enters into a same sex marriage contract or civil union commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 14 years imprisonment.
“A person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations directly or indirectly makes public show of dame sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.
“A person or group of persons who administers, witnesses, abets or aids the solemnization of a same sex marriage or civil union of supports the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organizations, processions or meetings in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.
“The High Court of a State or of the Federal Capital Territory shall have jurisdiction to entertain matters raiding from the breach of the provisions of this Act.”