AFRICANGLOBE – The Nigerian Senate yesterday adopted the report of its conference committee on the same-sex marriage prohibition bill 2011 and approved a 14 year jail term for offenders.
The two chambers had set up the conference committee to harmonize the differences in their separate versions of the legislation.
If President Goodluck Jonathan assent to the bill, people found guilty of indulging in same sex marriage risk a jail term of 14 years with no option for a fine.
Also, persons who witness, aid or abet the solemnization of a same sex union or support the registration, operation of gay clubs in the country risk a jail term of 10 years.
Section 5 of the bill states that: “Persons who entered into a same sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison.”
Also, sub-section 2 states: “Any person, who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations or directly or indirectly make public show of same sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison.”
Commenting shortly after the bill was adopted by the red chamber, Senate President David Mark called on President Jonathan to give it a speedy assent saying ,”this bill will go through now and it will be signed as quick as possible. We have been under series of attack from different quarters. I think we believe in this bill. The earlier we sign it into law, the better. We (Nigeria) have many shortcomings; we don’t want to add this one (same sex marriage) to it.”
Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan (APC, Yobe) said Nigeria is a religious country and the two major religions do not accept same sex marriage.
The Same Sex Bill was passed by the senate on Tuesday 29, November, 2011 and the House of Representatives on Tuesday 2, July 2013 but with some differences which were harmonized yesterday.
By: Turaki A. Hassan