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The proposed bill calls for five years imprisonment for anyone who undergoes, "performs, witnesses, aids, or abets" a same-sex marriage.It would also prohibit any display of a "same-sex amorous relationship" and adoption of children by gays or lesbians.The bill is expected to receive little or no opposition in Parliament.The same-sex marriage ban would make Nigeria the second country in Africa to criminalize such unions.In February 2006, the United States State Department condemned the proposal.In March 2006, 16 international human rights groups signed a letter condemning the bill, calling it a violation of the freedoms of expression, association and assembly guaranteed by international law as well as by the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and a barrier to the struggle against the spread of AIDS.The separation of Nigerians and Africans in general, from their culture and tradition will be a herculean task for any ‘elements or variables’, including ‘civilization’.
According to the Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo, the law was pushed by President Olusegun Obasanjo following the international conference on HIV/AIDS (ICASA) in 2005.
The major difference is that, the bill went further than the previous criminal and penal codes by prohibiting same sex marriages and actions aiding same sex unions by Nigerian citizens.
Persons witnessing, officiating or supporting gay acts or weddings can be charged in court.
Proposals to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage compacted with severe penalties to those convicted of performing or participating in such, have twice surfaced.
A similar bill is currently pending parliamentary approval.
Nigeria recognizes neither same-sex marriages nor civil unions for same-sex couples.