A Nigerian High Court judge is expected to rule Sept. 25 whether the country’s new anti-gay law is constitutional.
[Editor’s note: The ruling has reportedly been delayed until Oct. 21.]
Justice Abdul Kafarati is currently considering the lawsuit filed in March in the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court by Joseph Teriah Ebah, a straight Nigerian living in the United Kingdom.
Ebah alleges that this year’s new “Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act” violates Nigerians’ human rights as protected by the country’s constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
In his suit, Ebah states that:
“Nigerians, particularly those whose sex is Gay, Lesbian, bisexual or transgender are, by natural design, biologically and physiologically, without any fault of theirs, share unique sexual orientation. …
“I know as a fact that there is a constitutional provision in Nigeria which forbids discrimination against any Nigerian on the basis of their sex, community and/or circumstances of their birth.
“That I know as a fact that the recently assented Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013, by the President Jonathan violates the Nigerian Constitution which forbids discrimination against any Nigerian by virtue of their sex, community and/or circumstances of their birth. …
“That I know as a fact that Individuals do not choose their sexual orientation, be you straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual. It is not a matter of choice. You are who you are. By circumstance of our Birth, we are born straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
“That I know as a fact that the sexual orientation of a citizen of Nigeria does not impair upon his or her ability to participate fully in all economic and social activities and/or institutions in Nigeria or elsewhere in the world.”
He also accuses the supporters of the new law of attempted genocide, stating:
“That I am aware that since the inception of Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013, an estimated number of about Thirty Eight (38) Nigerians have been arrested in about four (4) states of the federation on the basis of their sexual orientation.
“That I am aware that in Bauchi alone, an estimated number of about 12 Nigerians were arrested and subjected to prosecution on the basis of their sexual orientation.
“That I verily believe that this arrest, persecution and prosecution of these Nigerians is an attempt at genetic genocide meant to exterminate these Nigerians. …
The law calls for prison sentences of up to 14 years for any Nigerian who enters into a same-sex marriage and up to 10 years to anyone who attends or assists in a same-sex wedding in Nigeria. Those provisions are extreme, but their actual effect will be limited, because the idea of same-sex marriage has attracted little attention in Nigeria except from the people who fear it.
The new law expands on a harsh existing Nigerian law that already provides for a 14-year prison sentence for homosexual acts involving either men or women. The old law apparently applied to same-sex intercourse; the new law prohibits a simple “public show of same-sex amorous relationship” and would impose a 10-year prison sentence for those convicted.
It also threatens 10-year prison terms for anyone who organizes or takes part in a meeting of gay men in order to inform them about how to avoid HIV infection, as well as anyone who belongs to any organization that could be classified as a “gay organization,” whether it is seeking recognition of human rights for LGBT people, meeting the spiritual needs of LGBT people, or providing health care for LGBT people.
- Nigerian LGBT Defenders Await Court Decision on Anti-Gay Law (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
- Man sues FG over anti-gay law (naijaobserver.wordpress.com)
- Nigerian law is against our fundamental rights – Gays (vanguardngr.com)
- Protesters to challenge 8 countries’ anti-LGBT laws (76crimes.com)
- With Nigeria’s anti-gay law, HIV care drops 10%-70% (76crimes.com)
- AIDS could rebound as Nigeria gets harsh anti-gay law (76crimes.com)
- Nigerian mob demands death for gay prisoners (76crimes.com)
- Nigeria: Anti-gay bill would hinder fight against AIDS (76crimes.com)
- Seeking defeat of Nigerian ‘Jail the Gays’ bill (76crimes.com)