Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert has condemned the passing of legislation by the Nigerian Senate which will make same-sex marriage punishable by a 14 year jail sentence.
The bill, which will now be sent to the country’s lower house for ratification before being approved by President Goodluck Jonathan, also seeks to tighten existing laws against homosexuality by making gay and lesbian public displays of affection a jailable offence and banning gay right groups.
Jean, a Member of the European Parliament’s cross-party Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights, said today:
“I am shocked and deeply alarmed by the Nigerian Senate’s approval of this bill, which will effectively ban gay marriage in Africa’s most populous nation. A 2008 survey carried out by Nigeria’s Information for Sexual and Reproductive Rights found that only 1.4 per cent of Nigerians feel ‘tolerant’ towards the gay community. If approved, the law will only further institutionalise this mindset – a truly worrying development.
“The proposed bill goes against the most fundamental principles of human rights and democracy. It is indefensible to curtail people’s rights on the grounds of who they are. As a member of the international community, it is the duty of the Nigerian government to protect the rights of all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation and without exception. I will now write, without delay, to the Nigerian High Commission to raise my concerns with regards to this barbaric law.”