Anti-Gay Marriage Law: ‘We’re not imposing our culture on Nigeria,’ Says EU

Anti-Gay Marriage Law: ‘We’re not imposing our culture on Nigeria,’ Says EU

By Vanguard on January 16, 2014
gay rights chude
Nigerians campaigning for gay rights

European Union Managing Director for Africa, Dr. Nicholas Westcott, has said the EU’s  stand on same sex marriage was not meant to impose any European morality or culture on Nigeria.

He, however, expressed concern over the same sex marriage prohibition Act recently signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan, stressing that the law contradicted the 1999 Constitution, hence his concern about the rights of all Nigerians, irrespective of  sexual orientation.

This came as British government expressed disappointment that the Nigerian same sex marriage Bill had received Presidential assent.

Westcott, who has been in the country since Monday during a press briefing at the European Union Mission in Abuja, said: “Just in the last few days, the same sex marriage prohibition Act which has been signed into law, which provides some concerns to us, we trying to explain to you clearly what our concerns are so that our position can be understood, just as we want to understand Nigeria’s position on it.

European morality and Nigeria

“We are not telling Nigeria what kind of legislation it should have, that is for Nigerian people. We are not advocating that homosexuality or same sex marriage should be recognised. We are not trying to impose our morality or our culture; Nigeria has its culture, Nigeria has its approach of doing things and there should be mutual respect.

“We are concerned about the human rights and freedoms of all Nigerians as enshrined in Nigeria’s own constitution and as enshrined in international conventions to which Nigeria is a party.

And our concern is that this Act contravenes some of those provisions and puts at risk some of the fundamental freedoms that all Nigerian people should enjoy – the freedom of expression, the freedom of association, etc. That is our concern.


“But I think all minorities will be concerned about that, not just gay community, but all minorities, to respect their freedom guaranteed by international convention, by Nigeria’s constitution. It will be for Nigeria to respond to this concerns but I have to express them.

“It was a concern shared by all and I represented my boss.  Catherine Aston has expressed concern in a statement already with you today. So we believe that care needs to be taken to preserve some freedoms of all minorities in Nigeria. They should be protected as provided in the constitution.”

In the same vein, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, Catherine Ashton, in a statement in Abuja yesterday, said the law was at variance with international agreements to which Nigeria is a party.

“I am concerned about the signing into law in Nigeria of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act.  The European Union is opposed to discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.

“It is firmly committed to human rights and rule of law in respect of those rights, including freedom of association, conscience and speech and equality of persons. It supports the respect of human rights in all countries of the world.

Contradiction with fundamental rights

“I am, therefore, particularly concerned that some provisions of the Act appear to be in contradiction with those fundamental rights, which are themselves guaranteed by Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, and to be inconsistent with the legal obligations enshrined in a number of international agreements to which Nigeria is a party,” Ashton said.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary has expressed disappointment over President Goodluck Jonathan’s assent to the same sex marriage Bill.

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  1. THe US and EU sHould leave us alone let them hanDle dia own problems other than stressing ours. Gayism nd Lesbianism is an alien culture to africans. We cannot just accept a culture alienic to us just bcos D US or D whyte Does same. We stanD as a Democratic Country as sucH we leave Democratically D majority outnumbers D minority in welcoming sucH act witH thAt let nigerians be….. All opposing nations cant querry uganda or zimbabwe.. THey never tot nigeria wlD accept such act now is over dia mission is thwarteD we live How we want not How oDas wants us to live.

  2. Actually, Kenyans may be imposing their culture on Nigerians. See, in Kenya female to female marriage is part of the culture. Because of this a Kenyan court made female to female marriage legal, by precedence. What EU brought and maybe then they should fight is Christianity… well and possibly the cellphone. Oh yeah, and the Mercedez Benz.

  3. Jeffrey,

    I would like to correct the statement you have made. Homosexuality- whether gayism or lesbianism is still illegal in Kenya under the Penal Code. As a matter of fact, such an act can attract a sentence of upto 14yrs under our criminal law.

    Although our (new) Constitution which was promulgated in 2010 in Article 27(4) guarantees the rights of all citizens irrespective of sex,inter alias, no Kenyan court has held that homosexuality is legal.


    You ought to be able to distinguish between the Nandi cultural ‘same-sex marriage’ and homosexuality. If you read the article you have kindly posted you would understand that such cultural marriages are not sexual and hence cannot be defined as homosexuality. They are however cultural and only allowed in certain circumstances where a woman cannot bear a child.

    Also note that the above is only practiced in a few cultures in Kenya. It is ignorant to sum it up as ‘Kenyan culture’ for Kenya consists of people from over 42 ethnic communities.

    The rest of your comment is senseless and hence not worthy of my reply and so I will leave it there.

    Young Kenyan Lawyer

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