Tag Archives: Newsrelease

LGBT Rights activists demonstrates at Nigerian Centenary Awards, UK

28 Jun

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Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same-Sex laws with the support of GALHA, London Black Atheists and other LGBT activists staged a demonstration at the venue of Nigerian Centenary Awards, UK.

The demonstration took place on the eve of London Pride, Friday 27 at Waltham Forest Town Hall, Walthamstow, London.  Standing outside the venue of the awards, the lgbt/Human rights activists unequivocally condemned the Anti-Lgbt law which stipulates 14 years jail term for Nigerian gays, Bisexuals and Transgender and 10 years imprisonment for anyone who supports LGBTS or advocates for LGBT rights.

At the entrance of the venue, the activists peacefully engaged guests on the importance of equal rights. They also used the occasion to chastise the lawmaker, Hon. Abike Dabiri, for her homophobic support of the 14 years jail term for Nigerian gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders.

The demonstrators spoke against the criminalisation of sexual minorities and Nigeria’s Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition law.  They urged the guests to remember the many Nigerians who are made homeless, beaten up on the streets and jailed for their sexual orientation.

The Nigerian Centenary Awards UK was organised to celebrate 100 years of the amalgamation of Nigeria (1914-2014) and also give awards to 100 outstanding Nigerians in the UK.  The organiser of the protest, Yemisi Ilesanmi, said the demonstrators are not against the awards but sees it as an opportunity to raise awareness on the criminalisation of Nigerian LGBTs and protest the attendance of homophobic law maker, Hon Abike Dabiri. She said the ‘Jail the gays’ law has turned many Nigerian LGBTs into asylum seekers and urged every Nigerian to embrace equality for all.

Speaking during the demonstration, Yemisi Ilesanmi said:

We are here to speak out on behalf of all oppressed Nigerian LGBTs who have been denied a voice in Nigeria. We are here to put a face on Nigerian LGBTs. We are here to remind you that LGBT Nigerians are not criminals and are worthy of celebration. We are here to remind all those who criminalised us and are turning us into asylum seekers that we will not be silenced. We are LGBT Nigerians and we are proud.”

The lgbt activists chanted “Equal rights for gay Nigerians, Equal rights for everyone” while engaging guests in discussion on equality and LGBT rights.

The demonstrators left the guests with the message “Nigerian LGBTS and LGBT rights supporters are not criminals and we will not be silenced in our fight for our human rights. We hope as Nigeria celebrates its hundred years of existence, its people will also celebrate diversity and do away with homophobic, biphobic and transphobic laws.”

For further info contact

Yemsii Ilesanmi –

nanfs2001@yahoo.com

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Protest rally against Nigeria’s Anti-LGBT law.

21 Feb

Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti-Same Sex Laws protest rally outside Nigeria’s High Commission, London on 20th Feb, 2014.
Thank you all for coming out to stand in solidarity with persecuted Nigerian LGBTIs and for saying NO to the draconian Anti-Same Sex Law. Together We Can!

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Dear friend, I’m going to prison. Protest rally against Nigeria’s Anti-LGBT Law.

8 Feb

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Dear friend,

I’m just writing to say goodbye.

I’m going to prison,

for 14 years,

for being gay

and Nigerian.

And if you associate with me, or don’t report me, whether you are straight, gay or bisexual, you face 10 years too…

This is what millions of Nigerians are facing today, since President Goodluck Jonathan signed the anti-same sex bill and took colonial homophobic laws to another low level.

Come and stand with us.

And or spread the word.

Freedom to love for all.

Thank you,

Mojisola

X

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NIGERIAN LGBTIs IN DIASPORA AGAINST ANTI-SAME SEX LAWS

Protest rally against Nigeria’s Anti-LGBT Law.

Love Not Hate!

 

Date-    Thursday 20 February, 2014

Time-    3:00pm-6:00pm

Venue- Nigeria House, 9 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5BX

Theme- Love Not Hate

Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws will hold a rally on Thursday, 20th February, 2014 outside Nigerian High Commission, London, to protest the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.

We will come together to say No to this atrocious law and its blatant violation of our human rights.  We will also deliver a protest letter to the Nigerian High Commissioner.

In the spirit of Love that February is famous for, we shall host a kissing spree outside the embassy as we say Yes to Love and No to Hate. Nigerian LGBTIs and allies will hold hands, hug and kiss outside the embassy.

Join us, invite friends and LGBTI allies to kiss Sodomy laws and other anti same-sex laws goodbye. International solidarity knows no borders.

Join us in solidarity. Love Not Hate!

Event link on website-
Event Link on Facebook-
Nigerian LGBTI In Diaspora Against Anti-Same Laws. Protest Londo 023

Protest rally against Nigeria’s Anti-LGBT Law: Love Not Hate!

29 Jan Nigerian LGBTs PROUDLY REPRESENTED!

NIGERIAN LGBTIs IN DIASPORA AGAINST ANTI-SAME SEX LAWS

Protest rally against Nigeria’s Anti-LGBT Law.

Love Not Hate!

Date-    Thursday 20 February, 2014

Time-    3:00pm-6:00pm

Venue- Nigeria House, 9 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5BX

Theme- Love Not Hate

Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws will hold a rally on Thursday, 20th February, 2014 outside Nigerian High Commission, London, to protest the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.

We will come together to say No to this atrocious law and its blatant violation of our human rights.  We will also deliver a protest letter to the Nigerian High Commissioner.

In the spirit of Love that February is famous for, we shall host a kissing spree outside the embassy as we say Yes to Love and No to Hate. Nigerian LGBTIs and allies will hold hands, hug and kiss outside the embassy.

Join us, invite friends and LGBTI allies to kiss Sodomy laws and other anti same-sex laws goodbye. International solidarity knows no borders.

Join us in solidarity. Love Not Hate!

Venue Map link

You can also link to our event on Facebook.

Contacts-  Yemisi Ilesanmi – nanfs2001@yahoo.com

Davis Mac-Iyalla – dmaciyalla@gmail.com

Nigerian LGBTs PROUDLY REPRESENTED!

Nigerian LGBTs PROUDLY REPRESENTED!

Open Letter To Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

28 Jan

27 January, 2014

Open Letter To Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

 Link-  http://wp.me/p3uryi-tp

Dear Dr. Chidi Odinkalu,

It is with deep concern that I write this open letter to you to register my dismay at the continued silence of your office on the recently signed Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act. It is surprising that as Chairperson of the Governing body of National Human Rights Commission, a lawyer and a human right activist of note, you have not deemed it fit to issue a public statement weeks after a section of Nigerian populace was criminalized and stripped of their fundamental human rights via a stroke of President Goodluck Jonathan‘s pen. The most you have said in your official capacity, albeit in private, is that you are still studying the new law.

 Dr Chidi Odinkalu, how long would it take your office to study this legislation? The content of the law has been known to you and most Nigerians since 2011 when the bill was first approved by the Senate. The harmonized version of the bill that was signed did not change much. In your official capacity, you must have received a copy of the Act as it is part of your official duty to advise the President on the human rights implication of bills tabled before him.

 As a lawyer and a human right activist of note, you cannot claim to be unaware of the human rights violations inherent in this new legislation. Therefore, I wonder how you could turn a blind eye to such blatant violation of fundamental human rights. Is this about protecting your appointment as Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission? I hasten to remind you, comrade, that in the course of your human right activism, you actively opposed human rights violations by draconian military regimes. As a dedicated human right activist, you campaigned and fought for Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Association, Freedom from Torture and Freedom from Discrimination. Whatever happened to that passion and commitment to justice?

 No doubt your reputation as a human right activist was a major contributing factor to your appointment as the Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission. What happened to these noble ideals? Why have you decided to keep quiet in the face of such blatant injustice perpetrated against Nigerian lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBT)? Is it because Nigerian Lesbian, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals are a minority? Don’t minorities deserve to have their constitutional and fundamental human rights protected against the tyranny of the majority? Is it that you cannot afford to get on the wrong side of the President and lawmakers for the sake of ‘unimportant’ sexual minorities? Are we not worth defending because you value keeping your job more than performing the duty your job demands?

 I sincerely hope that the above are not the reasons for your silence but every second of your continued silence on this important subject matter diminishes any hope of a progressive response from the National Human Rights Commission.

 Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, I am a Nigerian bisexual woman, lawyer, human rights activist and a former National student union leader who has now been forced into exile by this draconian law.  Some of us, as affected and concerned Nigerian LGBTs, have discussed the implications of this draconian bill with you at meetings which you preferred to be kept private. We are not illegal. As bonafide citizens of Nigeria, we are part of the constituents your office is supposed to protect and defend.

 From the discussions with you on the then proposed bill, I appreciate that you understand the human rights violations inherent in the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act. As a human right activist and lawyer, you personally expressed your frustration at such a bill. However, as Chairperson of the Governing body of National Human Rights Commission, you have kept mute on this serious matter. I do understand your predicament but in all honesty, I do not think it is such a predicament. Your role and duty as Chairman of the National human right commission is clear enough. I, as a Nigerian citizen expect that you would defend my human rights no matter whose ox is gored. It is a duty you accepted and a job you are paid to do, with tax payers’ money, if I might add.

 The Nigerian Human Rights Commission is the largest human rights commission in the world. It has the largest numbers of board and staff members. One must then wonder why this big entity has not really been able to pull its weight.  Nigeria is a haven of human right violations, yet we have the biggest national human rights commission in the world. Big for nothing entities seem to be the bane of Nigerian society.

 I suspect you have enough staff members to dissect the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act. However since it is taking so long to look at the bill from your end, below is a cursory summary of the new legislation’s blatant violations of human rights and how it contradicts the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 1-      Title of the bill– First and foremost, you and I know that the name of the bill is just a mere camouflage. The implication and contents of the bill stretches far beyond Same Sex Marriage or Civil Union. And to crown it all, Section 7 of the bill made it clear that:

“same sex marriage” means the coming together of persons of the same sex with the purpose of living together as husband  and wife or for other purposes of same sexual relationship”

 Please note “…or for other purposes of same sexual relationship”

It further stated that civil union means “any arrangement between persons of the same sex to live together as sex partners”

Therefore, every time the word “Same Sex Marriage” or “Civil Union” appears in the Act, it refers not just to marriage but also any same sex, caring, emotional and/or sexual relationship with or without marriage.

 2-      Sections 1-3 of the bill prohibit same sex marriage and civil unions. Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, you are likely familiar with the horrors Nigerian lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals face on a daily basis, even before the signing of this draconian bill into an oppressive law. Nigerian LGBT community has never demanded for the right to marry, the most we have done is try not to be stoned to death or lynched on the streets of Lagos, Abuja, Imo, Sokoto or Kaduna. Nigerian LGBTs have been trying desperately to keep their sexual orientation private not because they are ashamed but because they understand that the ignorance and hate in the highly homophobic Nigerian society could lead to the lost of livelihood, stigmatization and isolation. If they flaunt their same sex love life, they stand the risk of paying with their lives.

 It is therefore surprising that amidst all the problems bedeviling Nigeria including but not limited to corruption, poor healthcare, unstable power supply, bad roads, high unemployment rate, lack of security and lack of any significant economic growth, Nigerian Lawmakers decided to waste tax payers’ money to dream up this bill and actually gave the law such a mischievous title. What a useless and time wasting venture!

 However, let us be clear on this, the right to found a family is a fundamental human right and if and when Nigerian LGBTs feel they want to challenge the restriction on their right to marry, they have every right to do so. I maintain that every Nigerian deserves the same right every other Nigerian enjoys. If an adult heterosexual Nigerian enjoys the right to marry an adult of opposite sex, so must an adult homosexual, bisexual or  transsexual Nigerian also have the right to marry their adult same sex partner,  if they so wish. Denying LGBTs this right is a direct stigmatization and criminalization of their sexual orientation.

 It is obvious from the provided interpretation in the Act that what the law prohibits is not just marriage but any same sex adult relationship, whether they are in a marriage or not. According to the new legislation, if they are in a caring, emotional and/or sexual relationship, they have fallen foul of section1-3 of this law and therefore face a 14 year imprisonment. Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, how could this blatant violation and discrimination be overlooked by your office?

 3-      Section 4(1) of the Act states-“The Registration of gay clubs, societies and organisations, their sustenance, processions and meetings is prohibited.” Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, this is a blatant violation of basic tenets of democracy including the much cherished Freedom of Association, Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Thought and Conscience. This part of the Act not only criminalized Nigerian gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals, it also criminalizes every Nigerian. I am aghast that any self-respecting Nigerian human right activist would overlook such blatant human right violation.

 As human rights activists, during the draconian military regime, we fought hard to kick the military out of power and usher in a democracy. As human rights activists, we condemned the military for its clampdown on Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Association. So, why are we now allowing these violations under a democracy we fought so hard to get? Why compromise this democracy for which many of us inhaled teargas, were dragged into detention centers, imprisoned and even lost some of our cherished comrades? Why are we giving away our hard fought for Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Association?

 Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, it is pertinent to draw your attention and that of other Nigerian human rights activists to the fact that this new law can be used against anyone including human right activists, political organizations or just about anyone who opposes the government in power.  Human rights and political meetings could be invaded under a trumped up charge of ‘promoting LGBT rights’. Activists could find themselves facing a 10 year imprisonment just for organizing meetings to oppose government policies. This bill even goes as far as criminalizing freedom of thought and conscience! Why is this not causing outrage within the human rights community and your office as Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission? 

 4-      Section 4 (2) of the ACT States- “The public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly is prohibited.” This directly criminalizes homosexuality and bisexuality.  Dr. Chidi Odinakalu, as a lawyer and Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission, you are no doubt aware that Nigeria’s constitution frowns against discrimination.

 5-      Section 5 makes it an offense to register organizations that advocates for LGBT rights. How could banning Freedom of Association, Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Thought be legal? Chairperson, what is your honorable office doing to challenge this blatant discrimination?

 6-      Section 5(3) of the Act criminalizes anyone who witnesses, aids or abets a same sex marriage. It is important to bear in mind that ‘Same Sex Marriage’ is interpreted in the Act as including “same sex adult independent relationships”, “caring, same sex relationships”, “stable unions” etc. This means anyone who witnesses, aids or abets homosexual relationship without reporting it to the appropriate authority faces 10 years imprisonment. By this interpretation:

  • A father or mother has the duty to report their homosexual/bisexual son or daughter to security or face 10 years imprisonment.
  • Any doctor who treats patients who are engaged in same sex relationship faces 10 years imprisonment.
  • Landlords who rent their properties to same sex couples face 10 years imprisonment.
  • Employers who do not report homosexuals in their employment are guilty of aiding and abetting and could face up to 10 years imprisonment
  • Friends and work colleagues, who aid and abet homosexuals, face 10 years imprisonment.

How much more outrageous could this get? Families now turn against each other, landlords now have the perfect excuse to maltreat tenants and unscrupulous people have more excuses to blackmail vulnerable, innocent people. Is this the African family value we are so proud of?

Nigeria is a country known for its lack of security and blatant abuse of human rights.  This law has given an express legal permission to hunt down innocent citizens. Already, there are reports of people victimized, arrested, blackmailed, lashed in public and charged to court since the new law was signed. It is not only gays, lesbians and bisexuals that would fall victims of this horrific law, every Nigerian is a potential victim.

7-       Section 5(3)  goes further to criminalize and stipulates a 10 year imprisonment for “A person or group of persons who … supports the  operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organisations”

Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, as you are most likely aware, LGBT organizations get their sustenance (funding) from national and international organizations that promote sexual health and the prevention of HIV/AIDS. National Agency for the control of AIDS (NACA) gets funds from international Aids organizations like UNAIDS, UNFPA, WHO, Oxfam international, Family Health International (FHI) and ActionAid. Parts of these funds are meant to be used to sustain Nigerian LGBT organizations that work on AIDS prevention amongst men who sleep with men (MSM).

Going by this section of the law, organizations like NACA, USAID and UNAIDS face a ban in Nigeria if they continue to provide sustenance to LGBT organizations that works with men who have sex with men (MSM). The obvious implication of this section of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act is that MSM who are HIV positive or have AIDS can no longer access healthcare in Nigeria. This would no doubt have a negative effect on tackling the problem of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.

Why is National Human Rights Commission silent in the face of this horrendous human right violation? Denying anyone access to lifesaving medication and accessible healthcare is draconian, inhumane and should be thoroughly condemned by every decent human being.  More so, as chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, you have a duty to not only condemn this malady, but also legally challenge it.

8-      Section 6 of this Act states that: “The High Court of a State or of the Federal Capital Territory shall have jurisdiction to entertain matters arising from the breach of the provisions of this Act.” Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission has the same jurisdiction has the High court. You are the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission and the Commission has jurisdiction to decide on this Act. You have the largest staff of any Human rights commission in the world, so what excuse could there be for the deafening silence and inaction?

The Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act contradicts fundamental human rights under Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, international and regional human rights law and standards. For example:

Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria prohibits discrimination against any person on the basis of sex or membership of a group.

Section 34 guarantees the right to the dignity of the human person. It states- “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment”

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights– This regional law which Nigeria is a signatory to, affirms the equality of all people. Article 2 of the law states: “Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, color, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.”

Article 26 of the law prescribes that “Every individual shall have the duty to respect and consider his fellow beings without discrimination, and to maintain relations aimed at promoting, safeguarding and reinforcing mutual respect and tolerance.”

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – Article 2 and 26 affirm the equality of all people before the law and the right to Freedom from discrimination. Articles 18 and 19 protect the rights to Freedom of Expression and Conscience. Also Articles 21 and 22 protect Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Association.

United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders– Article 5 of this declaration affirms that: “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels: a) to meet or assemble peacefully b) to form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups.”

 Article 7 also states that “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to develop and discuss new human rights ideas and principles and to advocate their acceptance.”

Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, I besiege you to understand that silence in the face of oppression is acquiescence to oppression. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” As committed defenders of human rights, we must remember that an injury to one is an injury to all.

I am aware that some Nigerians in support of the law usually argue that: DSC_0951

  • Homosexuality is unnatural
  • Even animals don’t engage in homosexuality
  • Homosexuality is not part of our culture
  • Homosexuality is a slippery slope to rape, pedophilia or bestiality.
  • Homosexuality will lead to dearth in population   
  • Homosexuality is a sin.

Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, as an educated person, you would appreciate that in this age of information, ignorance is nothing to be proud of.  One of the duties of National Human Rights Commission is to provide avenues for public enlightenment, research and dialogue in order to raise awareness on human rights issues. I hope you can use your office to educate Nigerians about the basic facts.

1-      The very first thing we need to understand is that homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality are all as natural as heterosexuality. Our sexual orientation differs; we are born with an innate ability to be emotionally/sexually attracted to same sex or opposite sex.  Or in the case of asexuals, not be sexually attracted to same sex or opposite sex.

2-      Research has shown that Homosexuality is not unnatural as more than 1,500 animal species engage in same sex relationships. There is nothing unnatural about this very natural act.

3-      Sexual orientation is a biological fact and not a matter of culture.  Some people are born gay just as some are born left handed. Homosexuality is not a disease or an abnormality. Since sexual orientation is part of every human biological makeup, Homosexuality alongside Heterosexuality, Bisexuality and Asexuality has been in existence from time immemorial.  Africa is the home of humankind; therefore it suffices to conclude that homosexuality originated from Africa. Homosexuality is not Un-African.

Even if homosexuality was (is) considered taboo in some parts of African societies, we should understand that many things were considered taboo that are now accepted behavior and norms.  In Calabar, our forefathers killed twins because they thought twins were evil. In many parts of Africa, it was considered a taboo for women to inherit land. Also, female genital mutilation was celebrated as part of our culture.  However, due to information and progress, these practices have been outlawed.

Culture or ‘Taboo’ is not a reason to deprive any human being of their fundamental human rights.  Discrimination in the name of culture or under the cover of ‘Taboo’ is barbaric, ignorant, bigoted and inhuman.

4-      Homosexuality is not a slippery slope to rape, pedophilia or bestiality. There is no justifiable reason to compare a violent, non consensual act that inflicts harm on its victim to consensual same-sex adult relationships. Rape is the act of forcing someone into having sex without consent; it is a sexual assault, in most cases a violent act. Pedophilia is the act of having sexual intercourse with a child, an underage cannot give consent. Bestiality is the practice of sex between humans and non-human animals; it is inter-species, also animals cannot give consent. Same sex relationships on the other hand are emotional, sexual relationships between consenting adults of the same-sex.

A homosexual or bisexual who is attracted to same sex does not cause harm to anyone or the society. Same sex lovers do not harm anyone with their relationship so far it is consensual adult relationship. Non-harmful lifestyle of adults should not be criminalized. Criminalizing a person for their sexual orientation is basically the same as criminalizing a person for their skin colour, sex, or for being left-handed.

5-      The world has a growing 7 billion human population, the human race will not suddenly go extinct just because Homosexuals are not criminalized or because same sex adults are allowed to marry. Not all marriages are entered into for the purpose of procreation. Some couples are content to marry just for love and companionship. The fact that my parents gave birth to me does not mean I owe the world a responsibility to also give birth to a child. There are many unwanted, unplanned for children abandoned by heterosexuals in orphanages and on the streets looking for a loving home. Surely, same sex couples who open their hearts and homes to unwanted children should be celebrated not criminalized.   

6-      For those who claim that homosexuality is a sin, please understand that ‘Sin’ is a religious concept. Religion is a personal matter and not every Nigerian is religious. Kindly understand that the Bible, Quran or whatever religious DSC_0956book we subscribe to is not the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Nigeria is a secular democracy. Religious believers, even when in position of authority, should not make laws or policies for Nigerians based on their personal religious beliefs. Quoting bible or Islamic verses to impose laws on all Nigerians is a blatant imposition of personal religious beliefs on others. BTW, speaking of things that are Un-African, Christianity and Islam are Un-African. These religions are foreign imports. While no one is advocating that we prohibit these ‘Un-African’ foreign religions, we should understand that Freedom of religion includes Freedom to be free from religion.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Amendment Act, signed into law on 26 February 2011, confers on the Commission the power to investigate human rights violations. It also made the NHRC independent so that it can work without fear or favour to improve human rights situation in Nigeria. Unless supporters of this appalling law can prove that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals are not human beings, there is no justifiable reason to deny us our fundamental human rights. LGBT rights are Human rights. Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, as Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission, it is your duty to condemn and legally challenge this atrocious law. Please speak out against this injustice, kindly act now!

Yours Sincerely,

Yemisi Ilesanmi

Twitter-@Yemmynisting

Blog- freethoughtblogs.com/yemmynisting/

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF NIGERIA’S ‘JAIL THE GAYS’ BILL

31 May

Nigerian LGBTI In Diaspora Against Anti-Same Laws. Protest Londo 006Nigeria LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same-Sex Laws unequivocally condemns the passing of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition bill by the Nigerian House of Representatives.

The draconian bill was passed in a voice vote on Thursday 30 May, 2013 by members of the House of Representatives. The bill stipulates a 14 years jail term for same-sex marriage and 10 years imprisonment for public show of same-sex affection. The approved bill also stipulates a 10 year imprisonment for anyone who abets a gay person, witnesses a same sex marriage or advocates for LGBT rights.

Nigerian LGBTIs in diaspora against anti same sex laws believes that the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition bill is a blatant violation of human rights of Nigerian gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals. It is a shame that such draconian bill was passed unanimously in both Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives.

Nigerian LGBTIs in diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws affirms that LGBT rights are Human Rights. As stated in our position paper on the Same Sex marriage Prohibition bill, the homophobic bill violates fundamental human rights that are guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution and various regional and international human rights laws that Nigeria has ratified. Thus this Bill contradicts parts of the Nigerian Constitution.

The same sex marriage prohibition bill if signed into law would encourage the political and social harassment of people for their actual or imputed sexual orientation. It would also stifle the rights to Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Association through the proposed ban on organizations that support Lesbians and gay rights.

This draconian bill if signed into law would further affect Nigeria’s Human rights records.  Individuals and state institutions including the police force are already using the unsigned bill as a license to intimidate and harass citizens based on their actual or suspected sexual orientation. The passing of this bill gives official validation to the harassment of sexual minorities.

Sodomy law is a relic from British colonization. The British parliament and many of its former colonies have since repealed the law. Why is Nigeria clinging to this antiquated Sodomy law? Why do Nigerian Law makers seek to further strengthen a discriminatory law in a democracy?

Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora holds that the argument that any sexual act or relationship that deviates from the standard heterosexual norm is against African culture is using “culture” to sanction the erasure of dialogue about alternative sexualities and to condone homophobia, therefore constituting a form of cultural violence. A society that stifles sexual and gender identities discourages the recognition of human dignity.

If consenting adults decides to enter into a committed lifetime relationship, the state should not criminalize their relationship. It makes no difference whether the couple is gay or straight, what matters is that they are adults in a consensual relationship. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes is not the business of the law.

Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora urge President Goodluck Jonathan not to sign this homophobic bill into law.

Dear president Goodluck Jonathan, do not assent a bill that infringes on the human rights of Nigerian Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and Transsexuals. The bill is against the spirit of the Nigerian constitution which you swore to uphold.  Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals are citizens, not criminals. Do not criminalize our sexual orientation.

Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws affirms that LGBT RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS and every Nigerian deserves the same right every other Nigerian enjoys irrespective of class, sex, gender or sexual orientation.

We call on all progressive Nigerians to oppose the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition bill. This bill erodes our hard fought for constitutional human rights including Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Association.

Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same-Sex Laws urge the international community to stand in solidarity and support the human rights of Nigerian Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and Transsexuals.

Kindly sign our petition to urge President Goodluck Jonathan not to sign the bill into law.

PETITION- President Goodluck Jonathan: Don’t sign the JAIL THE GAYS bill into LAW

LGBT rights are Human Rights. Stand up for Equal rights for ALL.

Signed on behalf of Nigerian LGBTI in Diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws

Yemisi Ilesanmi- (Coordinator) nanfs2001@yahoo.com

Davis Mac-Iyalla – dmaciyalla@gmail.com

Ade Adeniji- Outtales@yahoo.com

Mojisola  Adebayo- mojisolaadebayo@hotmail.com

Toyin Ajao- teeajao@yahoo.com

John Adewoye-  teju9999@yahoo.com

Newsrelease of Nigerian LGBTI in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws

5 Nov

Nigeria bids to criminalise same-sex marriage

 New law violates Nigerian constitution and international human rights law

 London, USA and Abuja – 18 October 2011

Following failed attempts in 2006 and 2008, Nigerian lawmakers are resurrecting a version of a widely condemned anti-homosexuality bill, now entitled: “An Act to Prohibit Marriage between Persons of Same Gender, Solemnization Of Same And For Other Matters Related Therewith”.

Read the bill here:

http://www.nass.gov.ng/nass/legislation2.php?search=marriage+&Submit=Search

“The new Nigerian bill aims to further criminalise same sex relationships and marriage,” said Nigerian Yemisi Ilesanmi, coordinator of the campaign: Nigerian LGBT in Diaspora Against Same Sex Laws.

“Lawmakers are fast tracking the bill. The bill has already passed its second reading. A public hearing is scheduled for Monday 31 October, 2011. However, there are concerns within the Nigerian LGBT community that the recent bomb blasts in the country would be used as a pretext to deny public access to the hearing.

“Under Nigeria’s criminal code and penal code, consensual same sex conduct between adults is already a criminal offence carrying up to 14 years imprisonment and in some parts of the country, the death penalty under Sharia law.

“The proposed bill violates fundamental human rights that are guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution and various human rights international agreements that Nigeria is a signatory to.

“This bill would lead to harassment of people for their actual or imputed sexual orientation. It would also stifle freedom of expression and association through the proposed ban on organizations that support lesbian and gay rights.

“The passing of the bill would give official validation to the harassment of sexual minorities and many homophobic persons would use it as a license to discriminate against lesbians and gays,” said Ms Ilesanmi.

The bill states –

1.–(1) Marriage Contract entered between persons of same Gender is hereby prohibited in Nigeria.

(3) Marriage Contract entered between persons of same gender by virtue a certificate issued by a foreign country shall be void in Nigeria, and any benefits accruing there from by virtue of the certificate shall not be enforced by any court of law in Nigeria.” It further states: “Same Gender Marriage” means the coming together of persons of the same sex with the purpose of leaving together as husband and wife or for other purposes of same sexual relationship.” http://www.nass.gov.ng/nass/legislation2.php?search=marriage+&Submit=Search

Nigerians and Allies Speak Out Against the Bill

Some human rights organizations in Nigeria have condemned the bill, The Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Rights in its press statement said:  “We wish to remind the parliament that, Nigeria is a secular state. Therefore, implicating that laws of our land cannot and should not be drafted and/or enact on the basis of religious and cultural value. This value already differ as Nigeria is a heterogeneous society, hence our federal system of government.”

Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center argues that: ”the bill violates the fundamental rights guaranteed under Nigerian law and other regional and international human rights norms signed and adopted by Nigeria, people must have a right to be who they want to be ! There are other pressing issues that the government should focus on than a discriminatory law of this nature!”

International Center on Advocacy on Rights to Health (ICARH) stated: “LGBTI Rights are Human Rights. Let us stand up for Equal Rights.”

A petition was created by Yemisi Ilesanmi, Coordinator of the campaign Nigerian LGBT in Diaspora Against Same Sex Laws – Link to the petition:  http://www.change.org/petitions/nigeria-stop-the-anti-same-sex-marriage-bill-decriminalize-same-sex-love

Justice for Gay Africans, a UK-based collaborative of activists, artists, and academics wrote on the petition: “Please sign this all… it is essential to make sure we use the democratic access we have to affect how our communities are governed”

John Adewoye, a Nigerian in USA wrote: “I am gay, not a criminal”

Davis Mac-Iyalla a Nigeria born Gay/Human Rights Defender based in London said, “Homosexuality is currently illegal in Nigeria, this bill if passed will lead to increased arrests and abuse of anyone suspected to be gay. It’s my nature to be Gay so stop using the law to oppress me and my nature.”

Rowland Jide Macaulay, a Christian Theologian and Founder of House of Rainbow Fellowship an inclusive Christian organisation, wrote: “I am Gay, Proud Nigerian, my family love me and we love our nation. This bill will not only criminalise gays and lesbian, it will dehumanise and break up families.”

The Nigerian LGBT community, with international support, has been successful in quashing this bill twice, but now needs international support to throw out this bill once and for all.

In its latest international newsletter, the UK trade union, UNISON, wrote:

“The proposed bill violates fundamental human rights that are guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution and numerous human rights international agreements that Nigeria has ratified. The passing of the bill would legitimize the rampant incidences of homosexual-targeted hate crimes that occur in Nigeria.  It would also give official validation to the social and political harassment of sexual minorities.  UNISON denounces this attempt to curtail basic human rights within the LGBT community and their allies. We are asking members to please sign this petition urging the Nigerian government to decriminalize same sex relationships, stop the proposed bill and uphold the fundamental human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Nigeria.

Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights lobby, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, wrote: “This proposed new law violates the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and other international human rights laws that Nigeria has signed and pledged to uphold.”

Full link to the petition:

http://www.change.org/petitions/nigeria-stop-the-anti-same-sex-marriage-bill-decriminalize-same-sex-love

Quotes from Nigerian Law-makers supporting the Bill

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Domingo Obende, in his lead debate observed: “Even the Muslim religion forbids it, Christianity forbids it and the African traditional religion forbids it.” He argued that “The legalization of same sex marriage in our country will make the next generation never to recover from the law of committed God fearing family. Same sex marriage is spreading and spreading round the whole world just like pornography and terrorism which has become the order of the day if not arrested on time.”

Senator Victor Lar in his argument stated:  “The essence of marriage is for procreation and if we allow same sex there will be no procreation and continuity and we may become the last set of senators and no others to take over from us. I want to say that anybody who is brought up as a proper African and who believes in the existence of a supreme being should condemn this same sex marriage and pass this bill expeditiously.”

George Thompson Sekibo argued that. “The purpose of marriage according to the Bible is to replenish the earth, to procreate. If we permit marriage to be carried out between man and man or between woman and woman, the essence of that Biblical injunctions will not be in existence again, instead of replenishing the earth, instead of bringing up people that will serve the biblical injunctions, which is the main purpose of our creation, we will be reducing the earth. In the book of Leviticus, it says that if a man lays with a beast he should be stoned to death and if a man lays with a man he should also be stoned to death, that means that it is a very strong law. So, I stand to support this bill that our country should not be allowed to practice it at all even if to mention it in a public because it is a taboo.”

Senator Emmanuel Bwacha argued that “Going by the legacies bequeathed this nation by our fore fathers, there would have not been any need to be standing here and debating this bill but developments in the other parts of the world have made it necessary for issues like this. From all indications, both the Christian and Muslim religions abhor same sex marriage. It is simply a desecration of our cultural and traditional values. We are found of copying values from the West in the name of modernity. It is really unthinkable to see a man say this is my wife when he is talking about a fellow man. We must quickly speak out because this culture is quickly creeping into our tradition. These are things we never thought of before but because of the changing times we must stand firm against them. So, I stand in support of this bill that we must stand firm against the same sex marriage.”

Senator Oluremi Tinubu in her support of the bill stated “As earlier said, the family is the bedrock of every society and if we allow same sex marriage there will be so much confusion not only to our children but the society at large. Same sex is wrong morally, it is wrong religiously but at the same time we have a lot to offer our children. One is to make sure that we live as good examples to them, we show them the joy of marriage. I wholeheartedly support this bill but at the same time every member of this society has to do something for this generation and if we look at it medically at old age it turns to mental problems for those of them that engage in this act. Same sex marriage is totally wrong and it is confusing our children.”

Senator Robert Ajayi Borofice observed “I want to make a new argument and this is biological. One of the things required in marriage is cultivation where the male sex cell and female sex cell come together to generate a new individual and in the process a lot of biological changes take place to define what comes out and that is what gives us a better new generation. So, anything that encourages marriage of same sex will not only terminate the process of producing better and more sociable, intellectual generation to face the challenges of our environment. People who are involved in either homo-sexuality or lesbianism have argued that it is their gene that introduces them to this social deviant behaviour, but we also know that alcoholism also has some genetic contents and that criminality also has some genetic inputs, society has not gone to legalise either alcoholism or criminality. So, on the basis of this I am supporting the bill that marriage of same sex should be prohibited.”

Links:

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2011/09/28/37473

http://www.nass.gov.ng/nass/legislation2.php?search=marriage+&Submit=Search

http://www.nass.gov.ng/nass/legislation.php?id=1212

The Nigeria LGBT in Diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws is an independent campaign body comprising of Nigerian LGBT individuals and organisations in diaspora to protest criminalization of same sex relationship in Nigeria.

More information:

YEMISI ILESANMI

Coordinator – Nigerian LGBT in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws

Tel- +447577749875

Email- nanfs2001@yahoo.com

Davis Mac-Iyalla – dmaciyalla@gmail.com
John Adewoye- teju9999@yahoo.com

YEMMYnisting

Proudly Feminist, Proudly Bisexual, Proudly Atheist.

FtBConscience

Atheism with a conscience

Nigerian LGBTI in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws

Nigerian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Inter sex( LGBTI) in Diaspora Against Anti Same sex Law is an independent campaign group to protest the Anti Same Sex Marriage bill presently before the Nigerian lawmakers and to demand for the repeal of all existing Anti same sex laws in Nigeria. We believe in equal love and equal rights for all. Decriminalise all homophobic laws because LGBTI Rights are Human Rights.

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