Prohibition Act

Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2006

The Act to Make Provisions for the Prohibition of Relationship Between Persons of the Same Sex, Celebration of Marriage by Them, and for Other Matters Connected Therewith, also known as the Same Sex (Prohibition) Act 2006, was a controversial draft bill that was put before the both houses of the National Assembly of Nigeria in early 2007.


It was first placed to the National Assembly by Justice Minister Bayo Ojo on January 18, 2006, but it wasn't passed during the first reading. On January 18, 2007 the bill was approved by the FEC and resent before the National Assembly. However, it received condemnation from human rights organizations for its restrictions on freedom of speech and organization, potentially placing Nigeria at odds with several international agreements to which the country is signatory; it was also seen in Nigeria as being a last-ditch election-year effort of the Obasanjo administration to appeal to public sentiment, since the second reading of the bill was being pushed after the Senate's defeat of a bill to amend the Constitution's limit on the number of presidential terms. As a result, the bill was not passed by either house before the general election that year.


The proposed bill calls for five years imprisonment for anyone who undergoes, "performs, witnesses, aids, or abets" a same-sex marriage. It would also prohibit any display of a "same-sex amorous relationship" and adoption of children by gays or lesbians. The bill is expected to receive little or no opposition in Parliament.

The same bill would also call for five years imprisonment for involvement in public advocacy or associations supporting the rights of lesbian and gay people. Included in the bill is a proposal to ban any form of relationship with a gay person. The intent of the bill is to ban anything remotely associated with being 'gay' or just gay in the country.



One of the stiffest domestic opponents of the legislation was Davis Mac-Iyalla, a Nigerian LGBT rights advocate who heads the Nigerian chapter of Changing Attitude, an Anglican pro-LGBT organization based in the United Kingdom. Mac-Iyalla, who was repeatedly arrested by Nigerian police in pro-LGBT demonstrations in previous years, was already an opponent of Peter Akinola, the current Anglican Primate of the Church of Nigeria.

The bill also received opposition from other civil and human rights organizations in Nigeria.


In February 2006, the United States State Department condemned the proposal. In March 2006, 16 international human rights groups signed a letter condemning the bill, calling it a violation of the freedoms of expression, association and assembly guaranteed by international law as well as by the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and a barrier to the struggle against the spread of AIDS. Some sources claim that Nigeria has the world's third-highest population of persons with AIDS: 3.6 million Nigerians are infected with HIV.


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