Augustine Alegeh 'Prohibition of gay marriage not human rights violation', NBA President says

He advised other states to look at the newly passed Lagos State Arbitration Act and use it as a model of what arbitration should look like.

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Friday, August 28, said that prohibition of same sex marriage, criminalisation of adultery and incest did not amount to violation of any person’s fundamental human rights.

President of the Association, Augustine Alegeh, said this in Abuja at a news conference.

Alegeh, who was briefing newsmen on recommendations of the 55th Annual General Conference of the association, said that although most western countries have accepted these practices, they are unacceptable to Africa.

"The statistics that came out at this session were very revealing. It showed that most of the western world had adopted this position.

"But so far, besides South Africa, Africa is holding firm because most of our beliefs are based on our traditions and also on our religious beliefs,’’ Alegeh said.

He said the conference agreed that prohibition of same-sex marriage in Nigeria did not violate the right of any person and urged government to continue to hold onto this stand.

On the issue of arbitration, the president said that taking debtors to native doctors is not arbitration.

"Taking someone who owes you money to a native doctor is not arbitration. We heard such a view during the conference.

"That if someone denies that he does not owe you money or you have a land dispute, you take him to go and swear an oath, this is not an alternative dispute resolution.

"Even in traditional African societies, they had chiefs and other means that such cases are resolved and we will not encourage any person to explore such means.

"We observed that the Arbitration Act currently in operation in the country is obsolete and needs to be modified.''

He advised other states to look at the newly passed Lagos State Arbitration Act and use it as a model of what arbitration should look like.

"The newly passed Lagos State arbitration law is a model for national development. It entails modern arbitration mechanisms which we encourage other states to take on board.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, had signed the Same-Sex Prohibition Act in 2014 making it a law.

The overwhelming majority of Nigerians supported the legislation although a cross section had kicked against it.

Some western countries had even threatened to withdraw aid from Nigeria.

The bill prescribes a 14 year jail term for offenders.

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