News / Africa

Nigeria President Jonathan ‘Praised’ For Same-Sex Prohibition Law

Nigeria - Johnson
Nigeria - Johnson
Peter Clottey
Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan has received overwhelming support from Nigerians after signing a law that prohibits same-sex marriages, according to Reuben Abati, spokesman for Jonathan.

He says Nigerian lawmakers unanimously voted for the same-sex prohibition measure after receiving inputs from their constituents across the country.

The law imposes a 14-year jail sentence for same-sex couples. The same-sex marriage prohibition law also bans gay clubs, associations and other activities that promote homosexuality, according to Abati.

  “In accenting to this bill on January 7, President Jonathan took special cognizant of the fact that the bill and its positions reflects the religious and cultural preferences of the Nigerian people,” said Abati. “There is no way in which this [law] violates the Nigerian constitution, either section 42 which talks about freedom from discrimination or other parts of the constitution, and there is no way it violates the criminal code or the penal code.”

The U.S. State Department, however, said in a statement that the measure is “inconsistent with Nigeria’s international legal obligations and undermines the democratic reforms and human rights protections enshrined in its 1999 Constitution.”

Nigeria has come under international criticism following the implementation of the same-sex marriage prohibition law that some observers have characterized as “inhumane and draconian.”

Both the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed concern about the Nigerian law, in a press statement released by the spokesperson of the UN Secretary General.

“The Secretary-General reiterates that everyone is entitled to enjoy the same basic rights and live a life of worth and dignity without discrimination. This fundamental principle is embedded in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights… The Secretary-General strongly hopes that the constitutionality of the law can be reviewed,” read part of the statement.

But, Abati says over 90 percent of Nigerians have praised President Jonathan for signing the law that prohibits same-sex marriages.

“If President Jonathan had done otherwise, then of course he would have been condemned by the Nigerian people,” said Abati. “What the world must realize is if the president had refused to sign the bill into law the national assembly would have vetoed the president, and [their] position would have been that we are the representative of the people and this is what the Nigerian people want.”

Some observers say the law gives legal backing to those who violently attack members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

But Abati says the law does not empower people to create chaos.

“The law as phrased does not encourage lawlessness. In no way does any law in Nigeria encourage anybody to take the laws into their hands,” said Abati. “What the law says is within the framework of decency within the framework of due process. The law does not saw individuals can attack or demonize or take the law into their own hands against people who claim that they are gay.”

He says those violently attacked could seek redress in court.
Clottey interview with Rueben Abati, President Jonathan's adviser
Clottey interview with Rueben Abati, President Jonathan's adviseri
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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
January 17, 2014 7:27 AM
For once president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan deserves praises, at least from my angle. I may not be one of his greatest fans, but I identify with him in this bold step he has taken to identify with Nigeria's yearning for justice, credibility and peace. Based on this action I hear some western nations like Britain, USA and Canada are threatening to withdraw their aid to the country. I do not know which country of the world Nigeria still depends on for aid, even though it is certain that some western countries try to sustain some level of leverage with Nigeria by giving some aid here and there, which is not life sustaining.

It is because many Nigerians are so stupid to continue to see these countries as even better than first home. Some Nigerians travel to Britain more than they visit their local market in a year. I think this is bloating the ego out there making Britain think that Nigeria cannot survive without it. Is it Canada or USA? In conjunction with Britain, these have stolen Nigeria's money and wealth in the past, encouraged corrupt public office holders who own much of their housing property so much so that if these countries threaten to confiscate those properties, it will cause irreparable harm to them. Those are the people they can threaten, for there is no amount of aid they can give to Nigeria today that can quantify any tangible result. But if Nigeria and other African countries truly need aid, they know the avenues to obtain it - from countries that are truly buoyant, willing and with no strings attached. Those countries - China for instance - are not threatening the continent in terms of "you must worship same sex marriage to be be our friend". NONESENSE! Kudos to President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.
In Response

by: Andrew from: Beijing
January 18, 2014 10:12 PM
God Bless you, Godwin, and all Nigerians, if you think China is going to be anything positive for Africa.
I'm an American in Beijing, and after being hear for almost 5 years and hearing, reading, and seeing China's plans for Africa, I'm sad to know that my lifetime will see the extinction of the African continent by China's hands.
But, good for you if you think that's a positive outcome. I don't want to push my ungodly American beliefs on you. You go ahead and celebrate criminalizing your fellow Nigerians, and counting on China to lead the way.

by: DODO from: ABUJA
January 16, 2014 3:15 PM
The reality is the anti gay law is not all about President Jonathan and his administration.Rather it is basically about the Nigerian people and what we want. it is against our culture & most importantly against GOD Who wisely created a man & woman.

by: Victor Mordi from: LAGOS
January 16, 2014 1:56 PM
That is to say that President Jonathan is not all that a weak Leader as most of us think. This is one of the greatest and courageous declaration of an African leather and its worthy of honorable applause.
oh America and Europe we have lost our moral values and we claim to uphold the integrity and visions of the founding fathers like George Washigton.Abraham Lincoln. even animals wont dare to debate on this.cause they have enough sense to know that God created beings male and female.

by: Max Ajida from: Pretoria South Africa
January 16, 2014 1:20 PM
Jonathan, the custodians of Nigerian people and he works for them. As president of Nigeria ,he has done what his people want him to do for them and not Ba Ki Moon and his entourage.The UN must know that there're other issues that violates the culture of other people like being is totally an abomination in African society. Accepting gayism among these people is also violating their rights.They must lecture us about UN charter. The indegenous have also their that and that is no gays allowed in their society. Pillay and her collegues must know this.We can not abandon our charter in favour of the UN. Jonathan , job well done and am sure other African leaders must follow suit.Our culture prohibits. Gays that's all and unnegotiable.

by: The WASP from: Washington DC
January 16, 2014 12:47 PM
Finally a world leader that is not a doodoo chaser!
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