Following the adoption of its conference committee on the same sex marriage prohibition bull 2011, the Nigerian Senate yesterday approved a 14 year jail term for offenders.
The House of Representatives and Senate had set up the conference committee to harmonize the differences in their separate versions of the legislation.
If signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan, anyone convicted of indulging in same sex marriage will be sentenced to 14 years imprisonment with no option of fine.
The bill also prescribes a 10 year jail term for anyone, who witness, aid or abet the solemnization of a same sex union or support the registration, operation of gay clubs in the country.
Section 5 of the bill states that: “Persons who entered into a same sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison.”
Also, sub-section 2 states: “Any person, who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations or directly or indirectly make public show of same sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison”.
Speaking shortly after the bill was adopted by the upper legislative chamber, Senate President David Mark called on President Jonathan to give the bill a speedy assent saying, “This bill will go through now and it will be signed as quick as possible. We have been under series of attack from different quarters. I think we believe in this bill. The earlier we sign it into law, the better. We (Nigeria) have many shortcomings; we don’t want to add this one (same sex marriage) to it”.
It would be recalled that the Same Sex Bill was passed by the senate on Tuesday 29, November, 2011 and the House of Representatives on Tuesday 2, July 2013 but with some differences which were finally harmonized yesterday.
let the bill be given speedy approval by the president, please.