Today, 11th March 2009, the Same Gender Prohibition bill 2008, will be debated by the Public, in what is tagged as the most crucial, cintroversial and popular subject in the country, in the past few weeks both national and foreign media has showed great interest in the matter and there are many reasons for that. For many years Nigerian government and leading religious community leaders have denied the existence of LGBTI people in the nation, it was more serious on the 9th February 2009 after many months of media intrution, speculations and assaults on LGBT people and organisations that the Minister of Justice, Honorable Ojo Maduekwe stood up before the UN review committee and denied any existence of LGBT people in the nation, Now LGBT people, leaders and allies have arrived at the parliament in Abuja Nigeria and at the time of posting this note are seated in the Senate committee room 028 to defend the rights of the LGBT citizens, House Of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church also have two representatives in the Senate, following the entire process. I will keep you posted.
The debate is now over and the overstretched LGBT delegates and allies are preparing for a press conference with the Media. Many LGBT leaders, Youth and allies stood up in the Parliament to make a case for the rejection of the Same Gender Prohibition Bill 2008, I was informed by our delegates that there were No Muslim or Northerners at the Hearing which is very odd, however there were loads of Anglican Clerics, all dressed for the occasion, this is indicative and evidential of the master minds behind this bill. 80% or more of the presentation were from defenders of LGBT rights, it is believed that more papers were lodged with the Clerk of the House that were not presented today. There are rumours that the bill will pass regardless, however, there has been a dramatic shift in the outlook of the Honorables of the House in their views of the matters of Human Rights especially the Women's Affairs Ministry, who now align their consideration with the Human Right Commission.
I commend the bravery of all who attended, and ask us not to lose sight of our goals, the battle is not over yet. What happens next?, the bill will now go through due process taking into consideration all the views presented today at the hearing, it will take some time before a response is made public. Leading Activists such as Leo Igwe, Director of the Nigerian Humanist Movement and Joseph Akoro, Director of TIP, were joined by new comers to activism such as William Rashidi of Queer Alliance Nigeria, House of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church had two representatives in attendance and the MCC statement was presented eloquently by Barrister Lazarus Aule a defense counsel from Lawyers Alert. Changing Attitude was represented by three or more delegates and their statement was presented by Mr Patrick. The Nigerian and foreign media were present throughout the hearing. Full statements in the Public hearing to the House will be posted soon, watch this space.
Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay