According to results of the poll, most Nigerians are of the opinion that the proposed bill is not an infringement on the human rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) community because homosexuality is not in their culture as Nigerians. These are two of the key findings from the recent Fundamental Human Rights Poll.The House of Representatives had on May 30th 2013, passed the Anti Same Sex Marriage Bill that makes same-sex unions in Nigeria a criminal offence punishable by a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. The bill also criminalises public displays of affection by same-gender partners.
The bill also states that “any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations directly or indirectly, makes a public show of a same-sex amorous relationship commits an offence and shall be liable to a term of 10 years imprisonment.”
Under the existing Nigerian Federal Law, sodomy is punishable by jail, but this bill legislates for a much broader crackdown on homosexuals and lesbians, who already live largely in an underground existence.
But according to Rashidi Williams, the Director of Nigeria’s Queer Alliance Rights Group, “The Bill takes away the fundamental rights accorded Nigerians under the constitution. This is really, not a pressing national issue.”
However, to explore the views of Nigerians regarding homosexuality and level of ratification, NOI Polls conducted its latest poll on Fundamental Human Rights with the expectation that the results from the poll will contribute to the on-going discussion, and particularly highlight the perceptions of Nigerians regarding rights of the LGBT community in Nigeria.
Respondents to the poll were asked five specific questions. First, in order to ascertain the level of awareness of the new proposed law to make same-sex marriage punishable by imprisonment, respondents were asked: “Are you aware of the recent legislative vote by the House of Representative banning same sex marriages in Nigeria? Why do you think it is an infringement/not an infringement on the human rights of LGBT community?
To what extent do you support or oppose the bill recently passed by the House of Representatives? To what extent do you support or oppose the bill recently passed by the House of Representatives?” To what extent do you agree or disagree with the claim that homosexuality is not part of the culture of Nigerians? Overall, 69 percent of the respondents were aware of the legislative vote banning same sex marriage.
The results showed that the North-central, North East and South-South have the highest level of awareness with 75 percent. Ninety- two percent (92%) of the respondents supported the Bill, 5 percent oppose the bill and 3 percent were neutral. Also, 85 percent of the respondents strongly agree that homosexuality was not part of the Nigerian culture.
On if the proposed law was an infringement on the human rights of LGBT community, majority of respondents were of the opinion that the proposed law is not an infringement on their rights. The poll in conclusion, revealed that Nigerians generally support the proposed bill and mostly agree that homosexuality is not a part of the Nigerian culture and majority do not think that the proposed bill is an infringement on the human rights of the people in the LGBT community.