Recently, the Nigerian Senate passed a law banning gay marriage in Nigeria and stipulating a term in prison of 14 years for anyone guilty of the act. It further laid down stiff penalties for any religious establishment which dared to carry out a gay marriage. The Senate President dared the Brits and the Nortamericanos to challenge our right to legislate on how we wish to live, and the people cheered.
There is just one problem with this law: it is totally unnecessary. Nigerian law already only recognises as valid marriages between a man and a woman or two. (Two women, that is. We're not Indians.) As such, passing a law to ban that which was already not allowed was pointless in the extreme, and a waste of energy, time, and resources which could certainly have been put to better use. It's like the Senate passing a law to criminalise armed robbery.
I am no fan of homosexuals, and in my personal opinion, there has to be something seriously wrong with your wiring if takes the thought of sticking your penis into a man's ass to make you hard, but that's my opinion. And what two adults decide to do to each other in the privacy of their own home is hardly the sort of area any sane government would make a priority. It is certainly not the sort of thing a sane Nigerian legislature should be passing, in this climate, anyway.
We have far more pressing problems with our laws in general than gay marriage. For instance, did you know that by Nigerian law, the compensation due to a worker injured in the course of his work is 12 weeks pay or N1,280.00 (which ever is less)? That's what our Labour Act provides. The same Labour Act that has not been updated since it was passed in the 1970s. Also, a police officer wounded in the line of duty is entitled to N5,000.00.Yes, Five Thousand Naira is what a Nigerian cop can expect to be paid should he be stupid enough to get shot doing his job. Will that amount pay for an hour in a hospital? Is it any wonder then that our cops flee at the first sign of trouble?
Or how about the fact that bank statements are not admissible as evidence in a Nigerian court of law in the 21st century? Yes, our Evidence Act requires the provision of the "Banker's Book", you know, that ledger where they used to write down deposits and withdrawals against a person's name. The sort of thing that was in popular use until the 1800s or so when the rest of the world decided to embrace modern techniques of doing business and Nigeria was happy to remain behind.
Or how about the fact that a man is still more or less allowed to beat the living hell out of his wife in this country? A bill to prohibit domestic violence against women was thrown out by the Edo state House of Assembly in 2001 and I do believe one legislator remarked that domestic abuse was a foreign concept, and questioned how else a man was supposed to maintain discipline in his home if stripped of the tool of regular beatings. I agree with him, if there's not enough salt in the soup, she deserves a visit from Dr. Cat O'Nine Tails.
These are just some of the problem areas that can be redressed by the swift updating of our laws, but instead, our Senators are focused on gay marriage.
We have issues.