For Immediate Release
November 14th 2012
EQUITY AND JUSTICE, WE ASK!
The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER) condemns the recent move by members of the House of Representative- relating to the Same-sex marriage prohibition bill.
The Bill was passed to the House of Representative in November 2011 and it went through the first reading before the end of last year. On Tuesday 13 November 2012, the Bill went through its second reading and was unanimously passed for the third and final reading. Meanwhile, the Bill is reported to be under a “clause-by-clause” review.
If passed at the final reading, the bill goes to the President who has the power to veto or assent to it.
If the President assents, it becomes law. Otherwise, the National assembly may retrieve the Bill and legislate on it again- going through the same process. At this time, the President’s assent will be unnecessary.
Olumide Makanjuola- Director of Programs said, “It is unfortunate that the argument presented by the legislature is invalid, illogical and unethical in democratic politics. Nigeria is secular state and still remains as such. Therefore, religion should have no stake in law making in the country. Unfortunately, this is what we get!”
He further said that, “this is unfortunate modern day democracy, where equity and justice is non-negotiable. It is unacceptable for the State to interfere in privacy of lives that pose no threat to Statehood.”
We strongly believe that, with the recently move on the bill, a lot of development work would be put in a state of disarray. For instance, CSOs that currently provide sexual health services to sexual minorities will have challenges reaching their target population and effort put into ensuring quality HIV prevention program in the country will be put into jeopardy.
We are critically concerned by the effect of this bill if passed into law, therefore we call on the House of Representatives to look in objectively as they under go the “clause-by–clause” review.
Furthermore, we call on The National Human Rights Commission to take quick steps in having a dialogue with the legislators enunciating the adverse effect of the bill to the protection of human rights of all Nigerians regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Olumide Femi Makanjuola
Director of Programs
Human Right Program Associate