House of Representatives

The House of Representatives has lashed out at the United Kingdom for daring to ask Nigeria to review its same-sex law by allowing men to marry men and women to marry women.

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, had made the call at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

Two principal officers of the House and the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, dismissed the UK’s request.

Those found guilty of same-sex marriage in Nigeria are liable to 14 years’ jail term.

The Majority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, told our reporter that Nigeria would not reverse its law on same-sex marriage.

“I doubt it very seriously,” he wrote in an electronic mail to SUNDAY PUNCH.

The same position was expressed by the Chief Whip of the House, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.

He said Nigeria would rather face sanctions imposed by the West than revisit the same-sex law.

Ado-Doguwa stated, “Not at all! As far as we are concerned in the National Assembly, this matter was conclusive and we will never revisit it.

“Nigeria is not the UK or the USA and we cannot operate under their dictates, especially in the areas of social morality. We are not a secular country like the US. And we should not be mistaken by any country or organisation anywhere in the world.

“A country like Nigeria that is strictly guided by Islamic and Christian codes respectively will not contemplate this act of immorality no matter what global consequences we may have to face.”

Namdas also said the National Assembly would not revisit the law. “I don’t think so,” he added.

‘Buhari can write N’Assembly’

But the Senate says President Muhammadu Buhari can write the National Assembly to consider May’s call on countries that had made laws banning same-sex marriage to change their position.

The Senate, through the Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, however, said the President could seek the National Assembly’s position on the matter.

Murray-Bruce noted that Buhari could seek a review of the law banning same-sex marriage if the President had been convinced of May’s arguments.

He said, “We will wait for the position of the President. If he wants to review it, he should transmit a letter to us, telling us that he is convinced about same-sex marriage. He should tell us his views, whether he is for it or against it.”

….Gay marriage, not a priority for Africa — Ex-diplomats

Also, some ex-diplomats told May that gay marriage was not a priority issue in Africa, stressing that homosexuality should not be brought to the public domain.

The retired diplomats, in separate interviews with one of our correspondents on Saturday, stated that Africans were more concerned with developmental issues than the sexual preferences of a minority.

A former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bulus Lolo, stated that every society had its norms and value, noting that Africans would continue to uphold theirs.

He said, “If someday, Africa evolves to the level of endorsing gay marriage, fine, but now, our population evidently does not want to make this a priority issue and it is not a priority for us. Sexual orientation is a private thing for individuals; you don’t have to flaunt it in the public.”

Also, a former ambassador to Angola, expressed surprise that May could use the CHOGM platform to ask African leaders to reconsider their opposition to gay marriage.

The retired envoy, who did not want his name in print, said unknown to the prime minister, the African leaders’ opposition to gay union had little to do with politics.

“Contrary to her pleading, Africans see relationship with the opposite sex as not only legitimate but the ultimate in human pleasure. It is a process that is freely given and mutually desired.

“Asking an African man to negotiate his preference for what has been passed down over generations and supported by the Holy Books is tantamount to suicide or loss of faith,” he said.

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