On 30 May 2013, the Nigerian House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to make same-sex marriage a criminal offence. The bill was proposed in 2011 and passed by the Senate in 2012. It still needs to be signed by President Goodluck Jonathan before it can enter into force.
Markus Löning, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, issued the following statement on the matter in Berlin today (31 May):
This legislation is in flagrant contradiction of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of many other international conventions that Nigeria has ratified.
All people have the right to live free from persecution and discrimination. States have a duty to protect their citizens and organizations who stand up for rights.
I therefore appeal to President Goodluck Jonathan not to sign this bill into law.
The bill is designed to make same-sex marriage punishable by up to 14 years in prison and envisages prison sentences of up to 10 years for those who set up gay organizations, including organizations working to protect homosexual people. It is also intended to make it possible to sentence anyone who witnesses or supports a marriage or organization to up to 10 years in jail.