Oct 01, 2011
News: Bill Against Same Sex Marriage Reintroduced to Nigerian Parliamnent
By Sven Rabatzky
(Nigeria) - The Nigerian parliament is once again dealing with a Bill prohibiting same sex marriage. This is the third attempt to pass such piece of legislation in Nigeria. We asked Davis Mac-Iyalla to provide us some more informations.
Davis, recently we learned that the „Gay Marriage Prohibition Bill“has been re-introduced to the Nigerian parliament. Is that true?
This bill has been introduced to the Nigerian Parliament in 2006 and 2008, and did not pass the parliamentary procedure till the end. What do you think why it comes up again, now?
I am not sure why the bill is back to parliament but source told me the Christian Right are behind it.
Homosexuality is already persecuted by the Nigerian State. What is the new Bill actually about?
This same bill has now surfaced again and it is now being titled: “A bill for an act to prohibition marriage between persons of same sex, solemnisation of same and for other matters related therewith.” The term gender in the previous bill has been replaced with the word sex.
What do you think, how will the Bill affect the life of Gay (and straight) Nigerians?
It would lead to more persecution, discrimination, stigmatisation both to LGBT Nigerians, their friends and allies.
But wouldn’t this just make life impossible for Gay people in Nigeria? Would they try to escape to neighbourings countries, maybe to Europe?
Yes what might likely happen is that there would be mass exodus of Nigerian LGBT people fleeing to safer countries.
You were forced to leave Nigeria because your life was in danger. What are the chances of a Gay refugee to entry an EU country and get refuge there?
There are no known chances - this will just make life more difficult for LGBT people, their families and even human rights activists supporting them. The asylum system is another nightmare and further discrimination.
The Bill caused an international uproar in 2006. It is often assumed that the Bill was dropped by Nigerian lawmakers after pressure from Western politicians. Do we overestimate US and European influence?
The whole idea of the bill is to divert attention from the more pressing issues in Nigeria and to pleased the Nigerian religious leaders and have western allies, using LGBT people as their escape goat. More pressure from the international community might make the bill to fail again.
Some activists from the African continent suggest that Western Gay activists should not interfere in the local processes. Are we really „cultural imperialists“ or does solidarity simply know no borders?
Solidarity knows no borders, but it would be nice for western Gay activist to work with the local people on ground. I was born in Nigeria so no matter where I live I am still a Nigeria and this issues will always affect me so I think its right that we all work together.
So what can the international Gay community do to help Gays in Nigeria to stop this Bill?
There a numbers of things to be done, one is to consult with your government to keep putting the pressure on Nigeria to drop the bill. I think if politicians are refused visa based in their human rights records they will have a rethink.
Thank you, Davis. How can our readers reach you for communications?
Davis Mac-Iyalla: firstname.lastname@example.org, +447948237399
For more background information, the articles on Behind the Mask can be consulted.