The Federal Government on Wednesday restated its determination to pass a law banning same-sex marriage and open display of affection by gays within its territory.
Briefing State House correspondents after the weekly meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said Nigeria owed no one any apology over the law.
The government’s insistence on the law came on the heels of threats by the British and American governments to withdraw aids from countries which do not allow gays to do as they wish.
Mr. Maku said although the anti-gay bill is a long way away from becoming law, foreign countries should respect Nigeria’s sovereignty and refrain from interfering in her law-making process.
“We live in a democracy, we live in a free country, we live in an independent country, the minister said. “And in every democracy as you know, there are institutions, there are laws and also there are cultures, there are believes and values in every nation.
“Let me make the point clear, our country is an independent country, we reserve the right to make our laws without apology to other countries.
“At any rate, between Europe, America and Africa there is a huge culture gap, some of the things that are considered fundamental rights abroad, also can be very offensive to African culture, tradition and to the way we live our lives here.”
Mr. Maku added, ” The truth of the matter is, our democracy will be guarded by Nigeria’s interest and values. And if eventually the bill becomes law, we will live with it.
“And we will take comments by our foreign partners and friends as legitimate but I also know that it is the legitimate rights of Nigeria as an independent nation and our legislature to legislate and discuss any matter in the world that comes before them that is also in tune with the welfare of the people of Nigeria.”
As reported by the Times yesterday, the meeting, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, spent more time on its traditional weekly ritual of contract awards bazaar, and approval of payments for contracts already awarded.
Mr. Maku said various contracts amounting to N36.6b were approved for award at the meeting.
The ministers who brought memos for the award of the contracts later took turns to brief the correspondents.