by Azeenarh Mohammed (@xeenarh)
(closeted optimist, provocative writer)
I have expressed my displeasure at the same-sex bill again and again but I think it is time I put my name and signature to it. The battle lines have been drawn and I have accepted the mantle.
I know that this article will get me a whole lot of backlash, I welcome it. This is a topic we all need to talk about instead of cower and hide away from. But instead of argue blindly, I will support my arguments clearly and vividly. If you wish to disagree with me, please feel free to do so.
Gay sex has been banned in Nigeria since 1960 and the law defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of every other. As far as I am concerned, this has completely dealt with the gay issue. There is simply no need to revisit it. Instead the National Assembly for lack of what to do is wasting tax payer’s money to tackle what is by no means a big issue in the Nigerian context. But for the sake of spreading knowledge, let’s take the issues one after the other:
Criminal Code Act and the Criminal Code Law provide:
S.214. Any person who-
(1) Has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or
(3) Permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature; is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.
S.215. Any person who attempts to commit any of the offences defined in the last preceding section is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.
S.217. Any male person who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with another male person, or procures another male person to commit any act of gross indecency with him, or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any male person with himself or with another male person, whether in public or private, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three years.
The Penal Code Act also deals with the issue.
284. Whoever has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with a man, woman or an animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of which may extend to fourteen years and shall also be liable to fine.
EXPLANATION. Mere penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.
285. Whoever commits an act of gross indecency upon the person of another without his consent or by the use of force or threats compels a person to join with him in the commission of that act shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine:
But curiously, neither the marriage act nor matrimonial causes law defines what marriage is. I had to go scouring deep into the archives of theLaws of the Federation of Nigeria to find it.
S. 18 of the Interpretation Act defines marriage as: a marriage which is recognised by the law of the place where it is contracted as a voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others during the continuance of the marriage.
CASE LAW/JUDICIAL PRECEDENCE:
In 2008 the Supreme Court went ahead and made strong pronouncements on the issue of Sodomy in the celebrated case of Major Magaji Vs Nigerian Army (SC 204/2004). The justices of the Supreme Court had this to say:
“What the appellant decided to do was to dare nature in his craze for immoral amorphous satisfaction…By his conduct; the appellant has brought shame to himself…to commit this heinous and atrocious offence. He is a terrible criminal” -Nikki Toby, JSC
“I will however like to add that the offence for which the appellant was convicted is an unusual, abnormal and unbelievable one” – Sunday Akinola Akintan, JSC
“In my respectful view, by putting or inserting his penis into the anus of PW1, it amounts to having carnal knowledge of him and this act is against the order of nature and therefore, amounts to the said offence of sodomy contrary to the Act.” – Ikechi Francis Ogbuagu, JSC
To this day, I am unaware of a Nigerian gay or transgender couple that has applied for a licence to marry (please feel free to educate me if there has been any) and the truth is they are unlikely to. Moreover, even if they wanted to, the Marriage Act has dealt with that issue as ONLY the union of a man and a woman can be recognised in marriage. The question we should be asking ourselves is WHY IS THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ON THIS MATTER AGAIN? The answer will be that the law makers do not know the law or that they know it, but they need to distract Nigerians while other bills are snuck through.
THE BIG LOOP HOLE.
S.42 (1) of the Constitution provides that: A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:-
(a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject; or
(b) be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions.
What this means is that all the Nigerian gay community has to do is form a new religion, write up their ‘holy book’ and make a place of worship. The moment they do that, they are automatically covered by the constitution and if any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution, that other law shall be null and void.
We have once again brought the spotlight on ourselves in a negative way. The international community really does not have money. They need to fix their economy just as we need to fix ours. Foreign Aid and grants are very competitive…and Nigeria just gave them a flimsy reason to cut us out of grants and aid. The senate president went ahead to say “Our values are our values. If there is a country that does not want to give us aid or assistance just because we hold on firmly to our values, that country can keep their assistance.” I really do not want to get into the values of that man but let me take a swipe at the nation as a whole. A country that glorifies thieves, where the masses die in drones of poverty while their ‘leaders’ enrich themselves with the minerals of the country, that is not a country that can even speak of values because the truth is that we lack any. And while the Senate president and his cronies are getting free treatment at their exclusive National Assembly hospital and will in no way be affected by the slashing of foreign aid, the truth is the poor men and women in the nooks and crannies of Nigeria (who have been abandoned by the government) will die. Because while our country has turned its back on those people, the foreign aid has been taking care of them for more than a decade. Malaria, HIV, Polio, and hepatitis patients have and continue to get drugs and help from foreign nations. Imagine what will happen if that stops. But do Nigerians care? Of course not! We continue to concentrate on the minute crumbs, the unimportant while the ‘leaders’ quietly finish off what they started…ignoring the plight of the masses while enriching themselves.
FEW HARD TRUTHS:
- —->The people in the National Assembly are not qualified to be the guardians of our morality. David Mark the publicly celebrated Christian is a polygamist and this same national assembly did nothing when Senator Yarima married an under aged girl. About 90% of the National Assembly hound on young corp members, have high class call girls on speed dial, and perform various sexual acts for rituals.
- —->Whether or not the Nigerian National Assembly passes a law criminalising gay relationships, the truth is it will continue to exist just like it always has so we might as well stop being hypocritical about it.
- —->At least two gay people and at least two lesbians in Nigeria have had sex today. Did you know about it? No. Did it affect you? No. Will it happen tomorrow? Yes, and you still wouldn’t know about it. The earlier you recognise, accept and move away from that, the better it would be for your peace of mind.
- —->Here is another hard truth: what two consenting adults do behind the privacy of their bedroom DOES NOT take food from your table, it does not provide better education for your kids, it does not increase the number of doctors in the hospitals, it does not fix the death traps you travel daily on, and it sure as heck does not cancel out corruption.
- —->And here is a question I would like to ask. At what point do we agree that people have a right to their private lives? The moment the state is given a right to legislate as to what goes on behind closed doors, we have stepped into murky waters.
- —->With the bill sailing through as it is, any ‘public show of same-sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly’ which can be anything from hugging, pecking/kissing each other on the cheek, winking or other acts as simple as holding hands (for men and women) can land you in jail for 10 years. Now only a nod or a handshake is acceptable behaviour in Nigeria.
- —->FYI for all of you that have ever participated in oral sex, doggy sex, anal sex, scissor sex, or anything but the missionary position, within the privacy of your home, married or single, that too is against the ‘order of nature’. They are coming for you next…
DISCLAIMER: As usual, feel free to drop me a line or a long comment below just because you can, whether to agree, disagree, inform or correct some error. And while doing that, keep in mind that the views I have expressed here are in no way the views of my employers, my political party, my faith or that of Love Nigeria