According to provisions of the bill – Same Sex Marriage (prohibition) bill 2011 – a 14-year jail term is prescribed for convicted offenders in Nigeria.
“Persons who entered into a same sex marriage contract or civil union commits an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years imprisonment.
“Any person, who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organization, or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships in Nigeria commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a term of 10-year imprisonment,” it said.
The bill was greeted with widespread criticism from several groups as many said the Nigerian Senate should be focusing on other more important national issues. There were also protests from Nigerians already practising same-sex romantic relationships within and outside the shores of this country.
In the first major use of the provisions of the bill, a 28 year-old actor, Bestwood Chukwuemeka was on Monday September 17, 2011 sentenced to three-month imprisonment by a Karu Senior Magistrates’ Court, Abuja, for having sexual intercourse with another man through the anus.
Premium Times quoted him as pleading guilty to engaging in homosexual acts. “I am guilty of the charge against me. I was under the influence of alcohol and I want the court to temper justice with mercy’’
The Police Prosecutor said the convict’s act was contrary to Section 284 of the Penal Code and that he committed the offence in August when sleeping in his bed.
Premium Times also noted that when he was first arraigned in early September, Mr. Chukwuemeka pleaded not guilty, saying, “I came back drunk from the night club and thought I was sleeping on the same bed with my girl-friend and I started romancing her.”
However, when the case was heard on Monday, the actor suddenly pleaded guilty, and was then sentenced to three-month imprisonment.
The Senior Magistrate, Nafisatu Buba, sentenced him to three-month imprisonment without an option of fine. “This would serve as warning to other youths who hide under the influence of alcohol to commit crimes,’’ she was quoted as saying.
Several questions arise here. What about the person he was supposedly having sexual intercourse with? How did the Police arrest him if he was in his bed at the said time?
I have no comments on this one. I think I’d just leave you to share your thoughts.
Photo Credit: Sahara Reporters