Lawyer sues Nigerian government over gay rights

The Senate has passed a law banning same-sex marriage
The Senate has passed a law banning same-sex marriage

The controversy over the passage of the bill that limits sexual minorities has been taken a notch higher with a Nigeria based lawyer, Robert Igbinedion, heading to court to challenge the Senate’s passage of the Same-Sex Prohibition Bill.

In a suit filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos on behalf of the “sexual minorities”, Mr. Igbinedion prayed for an order for the enforcement of fundamental rights to Private and Family life, Freedom from Discrimination, and Human dignity.

Joined in the suit were the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation.

 

The suit also seeks to ensure that people who practice same orientation with counterparts of their opposite sex are not penalized.

Mr. Igbinedion said that he filed the suit because the step taken by the Senate to make a law against LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender) persons is “one too many”  by the government to oppress the minority.

“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 Premium Times.

“The essence for which government is established is to protect minority,” he added.

In November last year, the Nigerian Upper Legislative House passed the Same Sex prohibition Bill which stipulates up to 14 years imprisonment for gay couples who decides to head to the altar while witnesses to the marriage or anyone who assists the couples to marry could land 10 years behind bars.

The Bill also makes operation or registration of gay clubs or organizations a criminal offence while anyone engaging in a “public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly” gets 10 years imprisonment.

While the passage of the bill generated widespread commendation from the majority of Nigerians, international rights groups, including the Amnesty International, expressed displeasure that such a bill “would threaten all Nigerians’ rights.” 

If passed into law, the bill would set a precedent that “would threaten all Nigerians’ rights to privacy, equality, free expression, association, and to be free from discrimination,” the groups said.

In filing the suit, which comes up for hearing at the Justice Tsoho court in Ikoyi on May 4th, Mr. Igbinedion said that instead of making a law to protect the minorities from victimization, the Nigerian State is “rather moving in the direction” of criminalizing them.

“I am not gay. Since I filed this action, I have only met one. Before I filed the action, I have never met any in Nigeria. But that gives me more vigour, that empowers me because I am not biased. I have nothing to lose or gain. Even if I have something to gain, I’ll still file it anyway,” said Mr. Igbinedion, a registered foreign lawyer in the United Kingdom.

The Same Sex prohibition Bill is still awaiting a concurrent passage by the House of Representatives and would be signed into law by the President afterwards.

“I will fight it because our law permits it. That is why I’m in court. Chapter 4 of our Constitution says you cannot discriminate, so it permits it,”  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 UN’s decision. And UN’s decision has recognized rights of LGBT persons as fundamental rights,” he added.

 

  • Jameel Ringim

    Robert Igbinedion
    What do you mean by saying you are not a Gay? Do you think you can decieve us? The scripture (Bible) said by thier fruit we shall know them, pls respect your self and repent from the dastardly act of sodomy. We know that you and your sponsors are aiming for some thing. The battle line is marked between the Right doers and the wrong doers.

    Finaly, are you not ashame that the money and time spent by your father in training you is wasted in depending the sodomites(Gays) Do you think your father will be happy to celebrate your success at the end of the case you are pursuing ? Why dont you sue against the corrupt and sharp practices in the executive, legislative and Judiciary as well as civil service? What about the illegal action of FTC Minister by imposing pack and pay which I believe did not pass through National assenbly? think about all these please. If truely you are not a gay, then withdraw the case to save your Family name from being call a gay Family.

  • boogienights

    What a wonderful, life affirming article from Nigeria! So nice to see someone who can see past the hatred and bigotry shoved down Nigerian’s throats. Look, all gay people want to do is live peacefully like anyone else. They don’t want to recruit. They don’t want to take over. They don’t abuse children (they are called padeophiles, and are usually heterosexual). Thank you for this article. Nigeria: please concentrate on the real issues affecting your country: fuel subsidy, electric outages, corruption, rape, HIV and AIDS…leave people alone to live their lives and remember: life is short. Be good to one another. Kind regards, Lloyd.

  • Relyakub139

    It baffles me the way people fight against the fundamental and divine laws of our creator. How blindly people follow the indecent ways of the western world that is being governed by satan. Don’t these people see that the funfundamental human rights as fomulated by the western world as nothing but fighting for one’s rights against their creator? This is nothing but hipocracy.If people truly have rights to do what ever the hell they want why did Mr Igbenidion study law (man made law)? Why impose sanctions on people? If God’s law can’t exist because it is wrong then why should man enact laws to govern his life. This is clearly double standard. If Mr Igbenidion is right, then let everybody in his household do as he or she likes. I pray that his wife will engage in adulterous affairs with as many men as she likes afterall it is her right. Let all his children turn out to be gay and prostitutes after all they have that right. Let all his employees defy their contracts and britch their work ethics, after all it is their right. If He is advocating that people should forget God’s commandments then I see no reason why we can’t throw away the so called constitution which happens to be man made and become a free and law-less society.

  • Dede

    I am against the Same Sex prohibition Bill. First it shows that our senators are idle. How can same sex prohibition be the most important law that requires the attention of our over paid senators? This country is on the brim of collapse from the activities of Boko Haram and the first bill that draws the attention of this 7th senate is same sex prohibition. In Igbo land when a man dies without a son and his wife can no longer bear children she marries another lady who bear children in the name of the man, while this family are not lesbians this law makes this tradition a crime. Secondly, It shows that Nigerians are hypocrites and mediocrities, There are hardly reported cases of homosexuals in this country and we hurry to make a stern law for it, Yet daily there are hundreds of Rapes, gang Rapes even rape of minors most of which are never reported simply because the laws against rape is so lame you can hardly get a conviction. There are incest’s going on under our noses yet there is no Stan law against these things, and the senate felt that they deserve a sitting allowance for making a law prohibiting same sex. I thought we had a law that only recognizes only a man and a woman in marriage. Yet we clapped for them. Nigeria is doomed. We are simply mediocrities.

  • LamY

    Relyakub123 wat a wondaful Comment, d idiot has 4gotten his bible studies were d kingdoms of Sodom nd Gomorrah were perishd bcz of sodomy. I wonder wat diz world has turnd to were all soughts of sinful acts are legalised because of Man’s selfishness nd greed. Surely, it is the end of times and some people are jst devil incarnates. God Forbid!

  • Relyakub139

    Thank you very much,LamY .I totally agree with you that the end times has really come. The signs are glaringly clear but unfortunatelely, the foolish amongst us have got carries away with mimicking the white man as if they were prophtets and messengers! Oopps!!! Actually, they are- messengers of the devil that is. What we and all the peoples of the world should know and be wary of is that the western govts and lobbysts are actually nothing but the agents of the anti christ or in islam what is called Dajjal whose goal is totally anti anything Godly and good.They oppose the laws of God and fight them through deception. Then they replace them with satanic laws that are completely contrary to what God has revealed in His scriptures.They create chaos on earth in order to gain power and domination. Mr R should know that there is a limit to the length a person should go to in emulating these advocates of evil. We have been created with intellect which allows us to see things and judge them rationally before deciding whether they are good or bad. So in copying them let’s take the good and throw a way the bad. Imagine the guts of James cameron when he said they will deny us any aide if Nigeria fails to legalise sodomy! Is dat human rights to force some nations to adopt a way of life that is contrary to their faith, traditions and beliefs. I say this is a proof that they are forcefully trying to consolidate the New World Order which is a one world government governed by the anti christ and his devils. May Allah protect us all from their evil.

  • Naf

    “All over Nigeria, the accepted norm now is as long as the majority is happy, the minority can go to hell… ” Of all he said, this statement pieces me the most. In this country who is Enjoying at all? Which Majority? the looters or who? With Poverty, Lack of basic Amenities, or bomb blast all over which enjoyment is he talking abt

  • simon Tersooo

    you are a devil advocate. no wounder, you seen not challenge the government on Luck of implementation of the country’s budget, the corruption that is raining in Nigeria, the unemployment, etc. but you have the gods to challenge the government on same sex marriage. May God amighty punish you, you, your general yet unborn, and the born. amen