Advertisement

Journal of Human Rights and Social Work

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 257–266 | Cite as

The Criminalisation of Consensual Same-Sex Sexual Conduct in Nigeria: a Critique

  • Augustine Edobor ArimoroEmail author
Article

Abstract

Consensual sexual activity among adults of the same sex has a long history of being criminalised in Nigeria. The passing into law of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2013 by the Nigerian Government is reactionary. It is a statement to the international community and same sex rights groups and activists that Nigeria does not intend to give in to pressure to protect the rights of sexual minorities. Despite the country’s strict anti-Lesbian Gay and Bi-sexual laws, consensual sexual activity among lesbians and among men who have sex with men silently thrives in parts of Nigeria. The objective of this article is to argue that the state needs to re-examine the dangers posed by anti-Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual laws to the lives of sexual minorities as well as their fundamental rights. The methodology adopted for the paper is an analytical/case study approach relying on reports and literature on the subject. The article examines the criminalisation of same-sex sexual relationships, the framework for the protection of the rights of sexual minorities under the Nigerian Constitution and under international instruments and recommends a stop to state-sponsored persecution of sexual minorities in the country. A further recommendation is that issues relating to sexual orientation should remain a matter of conscience for the individual concerned.

Keywords

LGB Homosexuality Same sex Nigeria Discrimination 

Notes

References

  1. Adebanjo, A. T. (2015). Culture, morality and the law: Nigeria's anti-gay law in perspective. International Journal of Discrimination and The Law, 15(4), 256–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Advocates for Behavioural Change. (2015). Human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Nigeria. Advocates for Behavioural Change.Google Scholar
  3. African Union, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. (2003). (Adopted 27 June 1981, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M 58 (1982) entered into force 21 October 1986. Available at http://www.achpr.org/files/instruments/achpr/banjul_charter.pdf. Accessed 13 Feb 2019.
  4. Akogwu, A. (2018a). Assessing the human rights implications of the Nigerian law dealing with sexual orientation. LLD Thesis University of Pretoria.Google Scholar
  5. Akogwu, A. (2018b). Death for love? A critical interrogation of the capital punishment for Homosexaul conduct in Nigeria against the backdrop of Mill's harm principle. Kaduna. Journal of Humanities, 2(1), 390–401.Google Scholar
  6. Anderson, D. (2015). Top 10 reasons sexual orientation is not a choice. Retrieved October 2018, from Listland: www.listland.com/top-10-reasons-sexual-orientation-is-not-a-choice/.
  7. Arimoro, A. E. (2018, October). When love is a crime: is the criminalisation of same sex relations in Nigeria a protection of Nigerian culture? Liverpool Law Review, 39(3), 221–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ayeni, V. O. (2017). Human rights and the criminalisation of same-sex relationships in Nigeria: A critique of the same-sex marriage (Prohibition) act. In S. Namwase & A. Jjuuko (Eds.), Protecting the human rights of sexual minorities in contemporay Africa (pp. 203–244). Pretoria: Pretoria University Law Press (PULP).Google Scholar
  9. Daemon, M. (2016). How I almost got killed for being gay in Abuja, Nigeria. Retrieved September 2018, from Erasing 76 Crimes: https://76crimes.com/2016/03/01/how-i-almost-got-killed-for-being-gay-in-abuja-nigeria/.
  10. Dickson, P. C. (2014). Homophobia Unites Muslims and Christians in Nigeria. Retrieved 2018 October, from Pri: www.pri.org/stories/2014-02-13/homophobia-unites-muslims-and-christians-nigeria.
  11. Döner, G., Geier, T., Ahrens, L., Münx, G., Sieler, H., Kittner, E., & Müller, H. (1980). Prenatal stress as possible aetiogenetic factor of homosexuality. Endokrinologie, 75(3), 365–368.Google Scholar
  12. Ekhator, E. O. (2015). The impact of the African charter on human and peoples’ rights on Domestic Law: a case study of Nigeria. Commonwealth Law Bulletin, 41(2), 253–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ewemie, B., & Ainabor, A. E. (2015). Supremacy of the Constitution and Good Governance in Nigeria. Retrieved 2018 October, from Global Academic Group: http://globalacademicgroup.com/journals/nard/Benedict.pdf.
  14. Finnish Immigration Service. (2015). Status of sexual and gender minorities in Nigeria. Finnish Imigration Service.Google Scholar
  15. Gay News. (2010, August 10). Gay Nigeria activist Bisi Alimi shares his compelling story. Retrieved April 2018, From gay News: https://sdgln.com/news/2010/08/10/bisi-alimis-gay-nigerian-story.
  16. Hamer, D. H., & Thomas, C. A. (1993). A linkafe betwen DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation. Science, 261, 321–327.Google Scholar
  17. Hamer, D. H., Rice, G., Risch, N., & Eber, G. (1993). Genetics and male sexual orientation. Science, 285(5429), 803.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.285.5429.803a CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Han, E., & O'Mahoney, J. (2018). British colonialism and the criminalization of homosexuality: Queens, crime and empire. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Human Rights Watch. (2016). Tell me where I can be safe: the impact of Nigeria's Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act. Retrieved October 2018, from Human Rights Watch: www.hrw.org/report/2016/10/20/tell-me-where-i-can-be-safe/impact-nigerias-same-sex-marriage-prohibition-act.
  20. Ilo, S. C. (2014). The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, 2013: a call for dialogue for the sake of those on the margins. Retrieved September 2018, from Sahara Reporters: http://saharareporters.com/2014/01/29/same-sex-marriage-prohibition-act-2013-call-dialogue-sake-those-margins-stan-chu-ilo.
  21. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. (2012). Nigeria: Treatment of sexual minorities, including legislation, state protection, and support services; the safety of sexual minorities living in Lagos and Abuja (2010 - January 2012). Retrieved September 2018, from Refworld: http://www.refworld.org/docid/50aa361f2.html.
  22. Jeremiah, O. (2014). Mob, police beat up alleged gays in Abuja. Nigerian Pilot, p. 8.Google Scholar
  23. Levay, S. (2011). Gay, straight and the reason why. New York: Oxford UNiversity Press.Google Scholar
  24. Maguire, S. (2004). The human rights of sexual minorities in Africa. California Western International Law Journal, 35(1), 2–52.Google Scholar
  25. Nalah, A. B., & Ishaya, L. D. (2013). A conceptual overview of deviance and its implication to mental health: a bio psychosocial perspective. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention, 2(12), 1–9.Google Scholar
  26. Nwaubani, T. A. (2017). LGBT acceptance slowly grows in Nigeria, despit Anti-Gay Laws. Retrieved April 2018, from Reuters: www.reuters.com/article/us-nigeria-lgbt-survey/lgbt-acceptance-slowly-grows-in-nigeria-despite-anti-gay-laws-idUSKCN18C2T8.
  27. Nzwili, F. (2014). Nigeria's religious leaders welcome controversial Anti-Gay Law. Retrieved October 2018, from The Washington Post: www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/nigerias-religious-leaders-welcome-controversial-anti-gay-law/2014/01/16/12485d88-7ef7-11e3-97d3-b9925ce2c57b_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.e130270f79f5.
  28. Okonkwo, C. O., & Naish, M. E. (1980). Criminal Law in Nigeria. Sweet and Maxwell.Google Scholar
  29. Onuche, J. (2013). Same Sex Marriage in Nigeria: a philosophical analysis. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 3(12), 91–98.Google Scholar
  30. Pew Research Centre. (2013). Global acceptance of homosexualtiy. Retrieved from Pew Research Centre: http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/06/04/global-acceptance-of-homosexuality/.
  31. Pillard, R. C., & Weinrich, J. (1986). Evidence of familial nature of male homosexuality. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 43(8), 808–812.Google Scholar
  32. Schwartz, S. R., Nowak, R. G., Orazulike, I., Keshinro, B., Ake, J., Kennedy, S., & Njoku, O. (2015). The immediate effect of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act on stigma, disccrimintation, and engagement on hiv prevention and treatment services in men who have sex with men in Nigeria: analysis of prospective data from the TRUST cohort. Lancet HIV, 2(7), e299–e306.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(15)00078-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sotubo, I. (2016). FG Probes Swiss Ambasador for bringing husband into Nigeria. Retrieved October 2018, from Pulse: www.pulse.ng/news/local/gay-marriage-fg-probes-swiss-ambassador-for-allegedly-bringing-husband-into-nigeria-id4904916.html.
  34. Swab, D., & Hofman, M. A. (1990, December 24). An enlarged suprachiasmatic nucleus in homosexual men. Brain Research, 537(1–2), 141–148.Google Scholar
  35. Tatchell, P. (2007). Nigeria's Anti-gay Witch-hunt. Retrieved 2018 April, from the Guardian: www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/aug/29/nigeriasantigaywitchhunt.
  36. Towle, A. (2010). Gay Nigerian footballer deported from Austria now in hiding. Retrieved April 2018, from Towlerroad: http://www.towleroad.com/2010/07/gay-nigerian-footballer-deported-from-austria-now-in-hiding/.
  37. Udodiong, I. (2018). CAN says same-sex marriage has no place in Nigeria. Retrieved October 2018, from Pulse: www.pulse.ng/communities/religion/homosexuality-can-says-same-sex-union-has-no-place-in-nigeria-id8292390.html.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Comparative Law in Africa, Faculty of LawUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations