US President, Barrack Obama
By Ahamefula Ogbu
The Federal Government Wednesday, reacted to the position US President Barack Obama on same-sex marriage, saying the country reserved the right to make laws as a sovereign nation that governs it.
Reacting to the move by Obama to intensify campaign for gay rights at a time the senate is trying to make homosexuality a criminal act, Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, said there were norms and practices peculiar to each country and society which should be respected and not overlooked on the altar of human rights so as not to assault the sensibilities of the people.
“But 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 and tradition and to the way we live our lives here. I said this (prohibition of same-sex marriage) has not become a law, but sometimes we get worried by comments that are made.
“The truth of the matter is our democracy will be guarded by Nigeria's interest and values. And if eventually the law becomes law, we will live with it but it is not yet law. And we will take comments by our foreign partners and friends as legitimate but I also know that it is within 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,” he said. Maku insisted that taking a position on yet-to-be-passed law was premature.
“The reported comments by the US Government about the proposed law by the Senate about same-sex marriage in Nigeria have not fully come to government for a position. But let me say this, we live in a democracy, we live in a free country, we live in an independent country and in every democracy as you know, there are institutions, there are laws and also there are cultures, there are beliefs and values in every nation.
“Relating to the law that is being proposed by the Senate, as you know Senate has passed a version of a law relating to same sex marriages, that law has not yet gone through House of Representatives not to talk of becoming a law that will be forwarded to the president for assent,” he said.
Explaining further, he said Nigeria as a nation has institutions that regulates what happens within the legal confines of living within the law would always guide the standard whether foreign countries like it or not and cannot determine how the country lives its life.
“I believe our institutions are clear, we live in a democracy. Foreign countries that may not be happy with certain aspects of laws passed in Nigeria are free to express their views concerning whatever law that is passed through the Nigerian legislature but at the same time all those countries know how democracies work,” he said.