Lawyer sues Nigeria for anti-gay bill

Legal challenge of anti-gay law gives gay Nigerians 'hope'

Lawyer sues Nigeria for anti-gay bill
11 April 2012

A lawyer is suing the Nigerian government over an anti-gay bill which, if passed, would put LGBT people at risk of violence and arrest.

Robert Igbinedion has filed a law-suit against the African country's president and attorney general at the Federal High Court in Lagos, claiming the Same Gender Marriage Prohibition Bill violates Nigeria's constitution.

The bill, which has been approved by the Senate and is currently being discussed in the House of Representatives, punishes those in a same-sex partnership with 14 years’ imprisonment and anyone ‘aiding or abetting’ such unions with 10 years in prison.

The law, which has been condemned by the international community, including the EU, would also ban gay organizations or clubs and same-sex public displays of affection could land offenders 10 years in jail.

'All over Nigeria, the accepted norm now is as long as the majority is happy, the minority can go to hell and that is the direction we are running into at jet speed. That is not a direction a government should go,' Mr Igbinedion told the Premium Times.

'The essence for which government is established is to protect minorities.'

Davis Mac-Iyalla, Nigerian gay exile living in the UK, said Mr Igbinedion's legal challenge gives LGBT people in the country 'hope'.

'We don't have lawyers in Nigeria that are interested to challenge the government over its oppression of minorities,' he told Gay Star News.

'This is a big eye-opener and has shown that even in Nigeria you can find human rights disciples.

'This is a local person showing us that there is a way around the law. It has shown that there is hope. This lawyer is really very brave.'

Mr Igbinedion's case will be heard at the Justice Tsoho court in Ilkoyi on 4 May.

He says he will fight the bill because Nigerian law permits it.

'Chapter 4 of our constitution says you cannot discriminate,' Mr Igbinedion said.

'And the fundamental rights enforcement procedure rules have given us a clear direction in interpreting our Chapter 4. It says you must look to the UN’s decision and the UN’s decision has recognized the rights of LGBT people as fundamental rights.'



No thumbnail available

Sri Lanka’s LGBTIs are hopeful new President will act to protect their rights

Sri Lankan LGBTI rights group Equal Ground hope the incoming government of President Maithripala Sirisena will be more open minded to the needs of sexual minorities and transgender people
No thumbnail available

Malaysian Speaker urged to explain reasons for keeping LGBT lawmakers

House Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia recently came under fire for turning down a motion to bar free-sex practitioners and LGBTs
No thumbnail available

ISIS threatens to throw gay people off 'Leaning Tower of Pizza'

Italians respond in the best possible way
No thumbnail available

Reese Witherspoon says actors need to be 'malleable' in their sexuality

'I think gay people are able to play straight roles; straight people are able to play gay roles. The whole point of being an actor is to transform'
No thumbnail available

Ed Miliband promises huge LGBTI role if he becomes UK PM

Leader of the Labour party announces Lord Michael Cashman will be the party's special envoy on LGBTI rights
No thumbnail available

Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson on his LGBT activism

'My mom has always been a big advocate ... so for me it's always been a part of my soul'
No thumbnail available

LGBTI racial divides could have derailed marriage in my state

Irene Monroe looks back to a proud 10 year anniversary in Massachusetts and the quarrel which could have meant same-sex marriage didn’t happen
No thumbnail available

Israel issues new ID cards to children of same-sex parents

New cards list 'father's name' or 'mother's name' twice
No thumbnail available

Google refuses to change search saying ‘gayest’ means ‘worst’

Petititon accuses most visited website in the world to be 'blatantly encouraging gay shaming culture'
No thumbnail available

Zimbabwe MP claims political rivals are gay and paid by the CIA

Hurungwe West MP and Zanu PF provincial chairman Temba Mliswa has claimed that ‘gay gangsters’ have infiltrated his ruling party, taking key roles as part of a plot by the CIA