The Forum for Justice and Human Rights Defence said on Thursday that unless sections 37 and 43 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria were amended, the country would not win the war against same-sex marriage.
The National Coordinator of the group, Mr. Oghenejabor Ikimi, also described as “myopic, misconceived and unfounded,” the statement credited to the Senate President, Mr. David Mark, that the bill on prohibition of same sex marriage was irreversible.
Ikimi, who spoke to our correspondent in Yenagoa, said the provisions of the proposed law against same-sex marriage were inconsistent with sections 37 and 43 of the constitution.
He said, “We state without fear or favour that unless the provisions of sections 37 and 43, which guarantee the right to private and family life and the right to freedom from discrimination are specifically amended to exclude cases of same-sex marriage, the effect of the proposed law by Section 1 sub section 3 of the 1999 Constitution would remain void abinitio (from the beginning).”
He also reminded the lawmakers that Nigeria was a signatory to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, which guarantees the sexual freedom of individuals.
Ikimi explained that as a member of the United Nations, Nigeria had sworn not to approve any bill against same-sex marriage.
He said, “As a responsible and responsive human rights organisation devoid of any gay affiliation, we owe it a duty to inform our legislators and the Nigerian public of Nigeria’s commitment as a member country to the United Nations to eliminate all existing legislation, if any, that discriminates, based on gender and sexual orientation and to also take measures to recognise and protect the rights of sexual and gender minorities.”