Aelex Partner & contending aspirant to the Presidency of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Funke Adekoya, SAN has said that the Law represents the social mores of any given society.
Speaking on a number of frontline issues confronting the nation, including the recently passed Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2014, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, maintained that Law, represents the social mores of society.
According to her, the social mores of many African societies; of which Nigeria is one, is that Marriage is a union between two families, and these families are represented by a man on one side and a woman on the other side – with prayers on both sides, for the marriage to be fruitful, and also be blessed with the ‘fruit of the womb’ as a result of this union. This, she says, is the society within which we live today and this is the view held by majority of Nigerians.
“I support the Nigerian Government saying we will not be forced or stampeded by other countries to accept a culture which is alien to us through the same-sex legislation. However, what I am genuinely concerned about is an attempt by some people to take the law into their hands, by starting-up mob actions against people they perceive as homosexuals or lesbians,” Adekoya stated.
She continues, “I think, irrespective of our sexual orientation, everybody is entitled to protection under the law and trial according to law, where there is a breach.
“So whilst I support the legislation, though I do not think it was absolutely necessary, I am concerned about the abuse of this law and the protection of citizens’ rights under this law.
The learned silk also raised questions over the enforcement of the law.
“This, to me is one of the fundamental problems of this law, because seeing the way it has been drafted, I would have wished that the bar and indeed legal professionals had been more deeply involved at the point of drafting. The law is so wide-ranging that two individuals, who merely show an affection of any sort in public such as a bear-hug, could be accused of committing an act of homosexuality or lesbianism. Though seemingly trivial, this could pose a huge problem,” she says.
Adekoya noted further, that the provisions of the Marriage Act in Nigeria, defines a marriage in clear terms. “Under the definition provided by the Act, same-sex marriage cannot even happen, and so it is a non-issue.”
She continues, “We do have many pressing issues that affect the generality of citizens, such as education, poverty level, unemployment, etc. Why don’t we focus on these fundamental issues? My honest opinion is that, what one does within the confines of their homes/rooms and not in public space, should not be the subject of a national discourse,” she stated quite emphatically.
On the all-important issue of security and the option of State Police, she had this to say.
“I have had cause to speak about this issue on several occasions, and to say that if we say we practice federalism, then federalism allows for state police. Some questions that have come up include, are we ripe for it? And my answer is this, If we are ripe for federalism, I don’t see why we are not ripe for state police.”
“A state which has a large burden of population, should take on that burden of providing a commensurate number of police force for its people; whereas, a state which has a lesser number of population, will have a lesser burden for this purpose.
In countries where federalism is practiced, you have the Federal Police, State Police and even the City Police. In fact, in the U.S. there is the University Police.
I think having a State Police is a viable option for security and we should give it some serious thought.
ON THE ON-GOING CROSS-CARPETING CRISIS BETWEEN THE PDP AND THE APC, she stated simply,
“The constitution provides the circumstances in which you would loose your seat for cross-carpeting, and the circumstances where this will not apply.
So it is for those who feel that the crossing of carpet runs afoul of the provisions of the constitution, to take the necessary steps and actions to declare a seat vacant. It is left for the court to determine whether this is indeed the case.
Nonetheless, I believe the constitution is clear on the issue that a member of a party can actually move to another party without losing their seat, if the constitutional requirements are met.”
By: Theodora Kio-Lawson