|Posted by WhatsUpNaija on January 20, 2014 at 8:10 PM|
GAY MARRIAGE LAW- NIGERIA
The furore arising from President Goodluck Jonathan’s assent to the bill prohibiting homosexual marriage reverberated on the diplomatic circles, yesterday, as it emerged that Canada has cancelled a scheduled state visit to that country by President Jonathan.
The cancellation was described as a reaction to President Jonathan’s decision to give assent to the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2013 which penalizes homosexual partnerships in the country.
Online news portal, Saharareporters.com had first published the story on its site weekend.
The cancellation nonetheless, Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak upheld the president’s action, saying that there was no way homosexual marriages will accelerate the nation’s socio-economic progress.
Despite the challenge from the diplomatic arena, further commendations came the way of the President for assenting to the bill. The latest commendation came from the Prelate and Moderator of the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. Emele Uka who described it as a bold step aimed at reforming the society along godly ethics.
The president’s visit to Canada which is at the instance of the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper was scheduled for February.
The cancellation follows the harassment of Nigeria’s diplomatic staff in the Nigerian High Commission in Canada by the homosexual lobby in that country.
The decision to cancel President Jonathan’s state visit to Canada was communicated through the Nigeria High Commissioner to the Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola Onwuliri who in turn passed on the message to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.
Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati in his reaction, yesterday, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would respond to the development.
Gulak slams US, Canada, others
Calling on the international community to respect the cultural sensibility of Nigerians and other African countries on the issue of same sex marital relations, Gulak in an interview, yesterday, said that “the hostile reaction of Europeans and the United States to the recent signing into law of the bill that outlaws marriages and sexual relations between people of the same sex has not taken into consideration the socio-cultural differences between people of different racial backgrounds, and more importantly the religious beliefs of our people.
“What the anti-gay law has tried to achieve is to protect and promote family values as we know it from the start; we accept that the Europeans have reached the height of their civilization, we are yet to see how marriages between persons of the same sex will accelerate our own socio-economic and technological advancement of our people.
“We value the bilateral and multilateral relationships between Nigeria and its international partners and we believe that no unnecessary pressure will be brought to bear on us to accept what our people consider to be abhorrent.”
“We are yet to see how this same sex practice will reduce inequality, reduce the grinding poverty facing our people. Same sex rights and privileges will not generate employment, enhance health care, improve education and technological growth which is what we need now. We know that those who are into this practice are in the minority, the US and EU should respect the sensibilities of those in the majority who abhor the practice of same sex relations.
“The law makers deliberated carefully on the bill before passing it and sending it to the president for his assent. We cannot dictate to Europeans on what bills they choose to make; they have been passing legislation to regulate migration of Africans into their countries without any complaints from any other country, some states in America have legalised the use of marijuana for medical purposes, ordinarily we should see that as a welcome development since we have people who grow the weed here, but for the sake of the health of our people, we cannot say what is good for America or Europeans must be good for us.
“I think it is a big distraction for these countries to assume that same sex marriage is our utmost priority at this stage of our development.
“Nigeria will continue to respect the rights of its citizens but those who want to engage in mercantile promotion of human relations that the society does not accept may be incurring the wrath of the law”.
The European Union and the US had threatened to review their economic assistance to Nigeria for signing the bill which they had lobbied hard to stop.
The Presbyterian Prelate, Most Rev. Uka in a statement in Calabar, Cross River State, described as unacceptable, the increasing global incidence of ungodly homosexual relations and the legal adoption of same-sex marriages.
“There are over 600, 000 same sex families in the US with about 115, 000 of them raising children who shall eventually become homosexuals,” he said.
“Homosexuality as one of the greatest human deviant behaviours has been with man from earliest times. Man has fought it for a long time but it refuses to die. For instance, about 40 years ago, homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. Today, it is considered a normal sexual behaviour and a human rights issue.
The Prelate charged President Jonathan to remain focused and not to be intimidated by the opposition of the western world to his assent to the bill.
On steps to address the issue of homosexuality, Most Rev. Uka said that the way forward is to follow the biblical panacea of seeking the Lord while He may be found, fleeing from sin and confessing to attract God’s forgiveness.
“Thank God there is hope, a cure for the sins of homosexuality, lesbianism, incest, rape and adultery. We should note that these mentioned perverse sexual lifestyles attract God’s punishment. For such, God warns that hell, not heaven is the final destination. And how is God’s cure received? In exactly the same way as other types of sinners receive forgiveness through confession and repentance.”
The Prelate admonished that, “as modern man wallows in his rottenness and extreme carnality, as they become far removed from the divine and the glorious, as they begin to ravage the world and seek to exterminate it, let us do our best to resist the devil and he will flee from us.”
Economic and diplomatic ties
Canada’s grouse is that more than 30 people have been arrested, since the law was signed on January 7, 2014 and there are worries that more arrests will follow.
Until Jonathan signed the law, prosecution of gay people had largely been centered on the predominantly Muslim north, where gays have long been punished under Sharia law. Canada does not have substantial economic interest in Nigeria but the country has been wooing Canada to invest in the mining, rail transportation, sea ports reform, education, and infrastructure. Both countries expect trade volume from these sectors to generate over 16 billion dollars in 2015. The relationship between both countries has been buoyant as they have maintained high level diplomatic contacts.
It will be recalled that in April 2012, Nigeria’s former Foreign Affairs Minister Olugbenga Ashiru visited Ottawa, where he signed the Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Bi-National Commission, which covers four major themes: political relations, commercial relations, security cooperation and development cooperation.
NNPC MUST ACOUNT FOR MISSING $10.8BILLION OIL REVENUE
Minister for Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that the ministry will make sure that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, accounts for the missing $10.8 billion oil revenue.
She spoke, Sunday, in Lagos at a session with the South South Professionals, adding that it was her job to ensure that every money belonging to the Federal Government goes into the Federation Account.
The Minister said that the ministry played the right role in the case of the missing oil money raised by the Central Bank Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, by helping to reconcile the revenue shortfall, to the outstanding balance of $10.8 billion.
Okonjo-Iweala, however, said that although she was not the supervising minister for petroleum, “as Coordinating Minister, I am to bring the other ministers together to resolve issues.
“It is not my duty to do the job of other ministers, but to bring them together to resolve issues.
”We have the Federation Allocation Accounts Committee, FAAC, which is chaired by the Minister of State for Finance, with state commissioners for finance, NNPC, and FIRS as members.
“Whenever there is a case of revenue questions we turn to the FIRS and NNPC for explanations, and we don’t need to make noise about it on the pages of newspapers
“And that is what we did in in the case of the missing oil revenue. We have reconciled the accounts and we are still reconciling, and the outstanding is $10.8 billion. The NNPC said that the money was used for operational expenses, but we have asked them to account for how the money was spent and what it was spent for, so as to ascertain that there is no case of unauthorised spendings.
”So we played our role, and the ministry should be credited. We are for professionalism and transparency.
Our job is to ensure every money belonging to the federation comes in, so we will ask NNPC to account for the $10.8 billion.
”On budget implementation, the Minister noted that there were challenges in the nation’s budgeting process, which must be resolved.
“Sometimes you get budget that is not easy to implement because of the way things have been solved around.’’
She further stressed that the budget also needed to be submitted on time and approved on time, so that implementation would commence at the beginning of the year.
Responding to the issue of state of infrastructure, especially the East-West Road, Okonjo-Iweala said that the present administration had come under serious attacks, but noted that efforts were being made to complete the road before the end of the current administration.
She said: “The President has always insisted that the ministry incharge works very hard to complete the East-West road.
“We agree that more work needs be done, and I think the Minister of Works is taking the issue of the road construction seriously. This is the most difficult road network, but also the most strategic.
“We have been able to get about N50 billion from African Development Bank to ensure this project is completed before the end of this administration.
”Even with all the efforts put in place so far by this administration towards a better Nigeria, it has come under serious attacks. These attacks especially from the opposition make us stronger. This administration is on the right path towards transforming this nation, therefore we need not be distracted.
“We have always appealed to Nigerians that, ‘let us leave our parochial interests but let us come together to make this country a better place for all.’”
At the event were President of the SESSPN, Mr. Emeka Ugwu-Oju, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd), Professor Green Nwankwo, Governor Peter Obi, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, Dr. Goddy Uwazurike, Chief Fred Agbeyegbe, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Gari Igariwey, Dr. Oba Otudeko, Professor Anya O. Anya, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Professor George Obiozor, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa and traditional rulers from the South-East and South-South.”