High court in Nigeria tosses lawsuit challenging anti-gay law

nigeria-demo-for-campaign-page_originalThe Federal High Court of Nigeria has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2013, contending that the plaintiff did not have legal standing because he is straight and not harmed by the law.

Human rights activists said that the ruling, while disappointing, actually opens the door for a new legal action against the anti-gay law. Nigeria, one of the world’s most populous nations, is also one of the worst places on Earth for LGBT rights.

Teriah Joseph Ebah, 42, a straight Nigerian who has lived in the UK for more than a decade and has a wife and children, sued the Nigerian government after the strict anti-gay law was signed into law. Ebah and his attorney argued that the law is discriminatory and criminalizes all things gay and punishes ordinary people who do not report the gays.

Oh well, they tried. Hopefully, there’ll come forward a plaintiff (you, him, her and me) who has the appropriate legal standing to challenge the law.

31 thoughts on “High court in Nigeria tosses lawsuit challenging anti-gay law

  1. I dnt really see the difference, this anti-gay law is d same as wen dia is no law. I mean things are stil d same, to my own knowledge.

    • Oh definitely not MCgray I actually duff my hat off to this guy for at least having the gunctuon to wage a fight. If he had won his day in court It would have definitely sent a message to the most homo phobic of Nigerians that we are part of a greater world now and really cannot be isolated anymore in some old traditional beliefs some in Nigeria have held up for so long now. It would definitely send a message if not of acceptance yet but of tolerance and awareness that gays are actually PEOPLE Too! And that YES in NIGERIA there are plenty of us!!!!

      • A wise saying goes thus ” In the end, I don’t remember the actions of my enemies but the silence of my friends”. How many of us are willing to join the struggle? None. I still remember during the public hearing on this bill, Anene, a 23yrs or so young Nigerian and a couple of other guys appeared before the committee under an NGO and made a case for gay Nigerians.Their case was so valid and infallible but the committee defeated their arguments by claiming that no Nigerian is gay because they haven’t seen any before and none has come forward to say he is gay. They further called on Nigerian gays (if they exist) to indicate but none came forward. And I ask,where are the gays? Where are the men? Where are all of us who can bring down men with their tongues? What about the Queens?

      • Wait, Gad, in ur second comment…so,during d public hearing of the bill, d committee actually said NO nigerian is gay? Can u see d foolishness of Nigerian law-makers? If they believe NO Nigerian is gay, then why waste time, effort and resources in proffering a “solution” to a “problem” that “doesn’t” exist? Smh

      • GBAM!!!
        Why bother waste taxpayers’ money on deliberations banning something that is practised by, according to you, no one? Jeez! The idiocy of our lawmakers knows no bounds.

    • Things may still be the same, but these battles have to be fought. the law sanctioned all sorts of crimes committed against gays in Nigeria. Blackmail. Extortion. Beatings. Because of course if you make too much noise, you can always be sent to jail. But if the law is upturned, the only thing we’d need to fear is exposure to friends and family, which was how it’d always been. A fear of being forced out of the closet is different from a fear of being jailed.

      • Pinky dear, can u suggest how we can fight this battle? If the law santions crimes against gays which I doubt, then it cant be a law under our constitution. Any law that supports what the constitution regards as crime like,blackmail,extortion,assault and battery etc is voidable,unenforceable and repugnant therefore can easily be upturned by any court. What obtains is that homophobics( I prefer to use criminals) hide under the law to commit crimes against naive and ignorant gay men.

    • The difference is that the In the 1999 constitution homosexuality carries a 7yrs sentence while d new bill has 14yrs. Another difference is that the new law has a coverage eg, criminalising of gay rendezvous like clubs etc,care givers,public show of affection between same sex persons etc. Failure to report the a crime if one has knowledge of it has always been an offense in our books.

  2. Wow.. Didn’t see that coming . they’re actually smart.. “The law doesn’t affect him”
    So they need a homosexual to bring the case so they can jail him..
    Talk of fool-proof law..

    • Dear Max…it’s actually not about smartness but about the law and it’s tenets. In law one cannot truly win any case except you have VESTED interest….eh am not sure of the legal term but it is what it is….so from the onset the lawyers who represents the poor str8t guy should have asked him for a sibling or relative who was gay….then we will be talking!!

  3. One thing I’m sure of, Nigeria is fighting a battle they would lose eventually against homosexuality. Victory might not come today, but it would come eventually… keep hope alive and fight in your own little way.

    • I totally agree with you. The battle is a lost one against one against the enemies of Nigeria. The the un-teachable ignorants,the gay lawmakers who voted 4 d bill,the thieving politicians,the gay blackmailers/scammers/set-ups, and all gay who won’t lend their voices in their little corners are all enemies of Nigeria.

  4. May God bless this courageous and honest Nigerian for daring to take this first step and Pinky for bringing the news to us ,then my Mum for all her support and understanding

  5. @ Gad I totally agree with u. But pls, where are our learned gentlemen.. our lawyers and barristers, pls educate us more abi we no get pinky lawyers.

    • Some of our lawyers are trying in their own little corners. I used to be in contact with one in Ogun state Judiciary who renders legal assistance to gays. We can’t thank him and his likes enough

  6. I have neither the originating processes by which the suit was commenced, nor the ruling of the court.
    But I think the judgment, with due respect to his Lordship, is perverse. It can successfully go on an Appeal.

    It is clear that the ruling was anchored on the legal concept of locus standi.

    ” Locus standi means a place of standing
    or a right of audience in court to
    prosecute a claim or the legal right to
    seek judicial intervention in a
    controversy or dispute or to invoke
    judicial determination of the rights of
    parties to a dispute . As far as the
    common law is concerned, only a
    person whose right has been violated or
    is in danger of being violated by the act
    complained of can approach a court for
    However, in order to mitigate the
    injustice inherent in the rigid
    application of locus standi , the doctrine
    of actio popularis was developed under
    the Roman Law. As a concept it allows
    any citizen to challenge the breach of
    public right in court. “- Malachy Ugwumadu

    To make matters worse for this ruling and for the Judge, the new Fundamental Rights Enforcement (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009 makes it abundantly clear that locus standi is no longer applicable in fundamental rights enforcement cases.
    The judge, and the defence counsel know this. Yet they gave free reign to their bigotry in public.

    That ruling simply can’t stand the scrutiny of an Appeal.
    I hope the fighters haven’t lost their appetite for a good legal battle.

    • My point is this: an Igbo man from Anambra State can commence a fundamental rights action against ANYONE, asking the court to protect an aspect of Yoruba culture which is in danger of extinction.
      You don’t need to be Yoruba before you can do that! That’s the law.

    • Your explanations made me so happy and full of hope but I was saddened by your concluding statement. I expected you to volunteer to join the legal team but alas…

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