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News Update (December 7, 2011 04:05 PM...)

FG says Senate's same sex marriage bill has not become law, but no apology to critics


Abuja (WorldStage Newsonline)-- Despite strong pressure from some western government over the recent passage of a law that recommended jail terms for those engaging in same marriages, the Federal Government on Wednesday said the country owed nobody any apology.

The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku who addressed journalists after the weekly Federal Executive council meeting in Abuja said, in as much as the law was made in accordance to the country's culture and value, Nigeria owes nobody any apology.

Though, he said the issue was not deliberated at the weekly council meeting and that the Senate action alone has not made the bill a law, Nigeria reserves the right to make laws based on the peoples values and culture.

He also stressed the huge cultural differences between Europe, America and Africa which makes some of the things that are considered fundamental rights abroad offensive to African culture, tradition and the way of lives here.

Maku also noted that foreign countries that were not happy with laws made in Nigeria were free to express their views, but advised that they should also know how our democracy works.

"Let me say this, the reported comments by the US Government about the proposed law by the Senate about same sex marriage in Nigeria has 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 believes and values in every nation, he said.

"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. It is a process that is going on normally through the Nigerian legislature, the same way every law is passed in every democracy, we have not reached that point where it has become law.

" But even if it does become law, as you do know, Nigeria reserves the right as an independent nation to live under laws that are democratically passed by the National Assembly. If in the end it becomes law, it will become the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, if the President assent to it, it will become law, if it doesn't, then if the National Assembly is able to muster two third majority to pass it into law, it becomes law.

"But we are still far from what the Senate has done becoming law. Having said this, 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.

"Like I said the Federal Government has not yet cone to a point of commenting on it because is a legislative process that pass through just one of the bi-cameral legislatures in Nigeria, if it eventually becomes law, I'm sure the President will have a position on the matter. But until, it is very premature for us to discuss what is still going on in the National Assembly.

"But let me make the point clear, our country is an independent country, we reserve the right to make our laws without apologise to other countries.

" 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, tradition and to the way we live our lives here. I said this 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 with 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."

Story by Victor Iluyemi (info@worldstagegroup.com)

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