Nigeria: Court asked to declare anti-gay law invalid

ABUJA, Nigeria -- A Nigerian man living in the U.K. has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Nigeria, asking that it overturn the draconian anti-gay law that has triggered widespread persecution and violence against the LGBT community.

Teriah Joseph Ebah contends that the law violates fundamental rights guaranteed in Nigeria's constitution.

As expected, the local media put a negative spin on Ebah's filing. Vanguard said he "dragged the Federal Government to court."

Ebah is seeking a perpetual injunction against the law, that not only bans same-gender marriage but criminalizes homosexuality and can send to prison anyone who supports the LGBT community in any form.

Justice Abdul Kafarati set April 2 to hear the suit.

Vanguard quoted from the affidavit in describing Ebah:

"That I am the Applicant herein and as such I am familiar with the facts leading to this case as well as the facts of this case.

"That I hold a BA Degree in Accounting and Finance from University of Derby UK, A Masters Degree in Strategic Financial Management from University of Derby UK, a Registered Member, Chartered Institute of Management Accounting of Britain (CIMA), and a happily married man with a Son.

"That I am currently working with the Department for Works and Pension under the employment of the British Government.
"That only recently, particularly on December 17, 2013, both houses of the National Assembly, the Senate and House of Representatives, passed an act titled "Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013.

"That I am aware that on the December 30, 2013, the Clark of the National Assembly also signed the said act before transmitting it to the President and Commander- in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who assented to the act, Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013, on January 7, 2014.

"That over the years I have maintained and continue to maintain close relationship with relatives, Nigeria Citizens schooling, working and doing businesses both in the UK and in Nigeria which inevitably gives me insight into worrisome plight and predicament, the recently enacted Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013, has brought to bear on these citizens.

"That I know as a fact that these Nigerians who are schooling, working and doing businesses in every part of the world including the UK and Nigeria, are entrepreneurs, people in sport, philanthropists, artisans, politicians, doctors, lawyers, Clergymen and the down trodden, who work hard day and night to improve their lot, that of their dependants and their country.

"That I am aware that these Nigerians are tax payers, voters and people recognized and protected by the constitution as Nigeria Citizens.

"I am also aware that these category of Nigerians, by natural design, come in different sexes to include Male, Female, Neuter, Hermaphrodite, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender etc.

"That I am aware that these Nigerians, particularly those whose sex is Gay, Lesbian, bisexual or transgender are, by natural design, biologically and physiologically, without any fault of theirs, share unique sexual orientation.

"That I know as a fact that these Nigerians mentioned above, have closely netted community of common interest that has no effect on the social, moral, economical and religious lives of other Nigerians.

"I know as a fact that there is a constitutional provision in Nigeria which forbids discrimination against any Nigerian on the basis of their sex, community and/or circumstances of their birth.

"That I know as a fact that the recently assented Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013, by the President Jonathan violates the Nigerian Constitution which forbids discrimination against any Nigerian by virtue of their sex, community and/or circumstances of their birth.

"That I am aware that the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013, criminalizes marriages and associations between and amongst Nigerians whose sex are gay, lesbian and transgender.

"That I am also aware that Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013, prohibits and criminalizes the operation of associations and/or the assembly of people who support the operation and functions of associations or organizations formulated by Nigerians with the interest of those who belong to the lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community at heart.

"That I know as a fact that by virtue of the promulgation of the Same Sex Marriage (prohibition) Act, 2013, I or any Nigeria Citizen cannot register an association to protect the interest of Nigerian Citizens who are lesbians, gay, bisexual or transgender.

"That I am not aware of any Act of law that prohibits a Citizen of Nigeria from registering an association or organization to protect or fight for the interest of animals in Nigeria.

"That I am also aware that this law prohibits public speaking for the interest of these Nigeria Citizens who are lesbians, gay, bisexual or transgender and who belong to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

"That I am aware that since the inception of Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013, an estimated number of about Thirty Eight (38) Nigerians have been arrested in about four (4) states of the federation on the basis of their sexual orientation.

"That I am aware that in Bauchi alone, an estimated number of about 12 Nigerians were arrested and subjected to prosecution on the basis of their sexual orientation.

"That I verily believe that this arrest, persecution and prosecution of these Nigerians is an attempt at genetic genocide meant to exterminate these Nigerians.

"That I know as a fact that in Nigeria, citizens whose sex is Male or female, exercises their straight sexual orientation openly without fear and same has not been criminalized.

"That I know as a fact that a citizen of Nigeria, who happens to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is not a sudden creature living amongst the populace.

"That I know as a fact that sometime in the history of this country, the killing of twins was an acceptable culture and practice before it was abolished.

"That I know as a fact that sometime also in the history of this country, the killing of albino was generally acceptable by a majority before it was abolished.

"That I know as fact that the majority of people in some parts of this country still accept the marriage of a minor to an adult.

"That I am aware that sometime in the history of the world, dealings in slavery or slave trade was generally acceptable by a majority of people in certain parts of the world before it was abolished.

"That I am also aware that sometime in the history of the world, the black race was seen as an inferior race by a majority of races and is still seen as an inferior human being to this day by a majority of people in certain parts of the world,

"That I Know as a fact that history has it that in many states of the United States of America, a majority of people supported laws forbidding marriage between a black man and a white woman or white woman and a black man, before they were repealed in most states of the United States of America.

"That I know as a fact that a majority of people in Nazi Germany supported Adolf Hitler's laws, pronouncements and actions before and during the Second World War. Laws, pronouncements and actions that led to the death of Millions of innocent people in Europe and around the world.

"That I know as a fact that a citizen of Nigeria, who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is not mentally deficient.

"That I know as a fact that the protection from discrimination of these Nigerians on the basis of sex, community or circumstance of their birth has always been in the constitution of Nigeria.

"That I verily believe that the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013 is the legalization of discrimination against Nigerians on the basis of their sex and sexual orientation, the community they belong to and circumstance of their birth.

"That I verily believe that unless these reliefs sought herein are granted, the Federal Government and all its agencies will continue to haunt down, detain, torture, prosecute and discriminate against Nigerians on the basis of their sex, community and circumstance of their birth.

"That I verily believe that it will be in the interest of justice to grant this application."

Source: allafrica.com

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