BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — Pink News reports that a bill that would further criminalize same-sex relationships in Nigeria appears to have made it through a second reading in the country's house of representatives.
The bill is meant to prohibit marriage or civil union
between persons of the same sex and "solemnisation of same." The new measure would mean gay couples entering into either marriage or cohabitation would face jail terms of up to 14 years, with a sentence of 10 years for those abetting such unions. News site, Vanguard, also notes that a 10-year sentence will be handed down to "any person who … directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships”.
"Gay organisations would also be made illegal, leading some to raise concerns over whether funding channeled through non-governmental organisations in Nigeria for AIDS treatment would be put in jeopardy," Vanguard states.
According to The Punch, Mulikat Akande-Adeola, the house majority leader, says the proposed legislation "would ensure that the institution of marriage is respected," as well as "protect and preserve the Nigerian culture."
“This same sex marriage is alien to our culture and not ordained by God; same sex or gender marriage is completely alien to our society and culture," she adds. “This practice has no place in our culture, religion, Nigeria or anywhere in Africa, it is immorality and debasement of our culture, we condemn it in totality.”
Representative Adams Jagaba also aligned himself with Akande-Adeola's submission, saying no religion supports gay marriage. “We are a cultured people; we cannot carry everything from other culture,” he says.
"There was no dissenting voice and the bill sailed through second reading after being put to vote by Speaker Aminu Tambuwal," The Punch notes. The bill was referred to the Committee of the Whole House for consideration. A final House vote will take place after a clause-by-clause review.
This development follows renewed calls in Uganda for a vote on its anti-gay bill following a heated clash between the country's parliamentary speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, and Canada's foreign affairs minister, John Baird.