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Sunday, 15 February 2009

"There are absolutely no gays or lesbians in Nigeria"

NIGERIA appeared at the United Nations in Geneva before the UN Human Rights Council to defend its human rights record.during the week.

Under its Universal periodic review mechanism proceedure in a session lasting three hours Cheif Ojo Madueke presented an overview of Nigeriaa human rights situation adressing issues raised by members of the Council on the Rights of Women, Death penalty and Nigerias Criminal Justice system, The Niger Delta, extra judicial killing and the state of prisons in Nigeria.

His presentation caused a stir when he informed members of the council that the government of Nigeria had been unable to locate persons of gay and sexual orientation,despite concerted efforts by his ministry to include this category of persons in the consultations on the human rights situation in Nigeria.

He further informed the audience that his ministry located only one woman of lesbian orientation and when invited to participate in a discussion on the rights of gay and lesbian persons, the lady informed his Ministry that she was pregnant.

Also speaking at the review process Cheif Micheal Aondoaka, Attorney -general of the Federation and Minister of Justice informed the audience that the government of Nigeria does not condone torture as an official policy. He said the acrtivities of the government of Nigeria is based in the rule of law and President Umaru Yar Adua was committed to the observance of the rule of law in all it activities.

Senator Eme Ekaete, Chairperson senate commitee on women in her contribution said that the government of Nigeria had made tremendous progress with respect to the rights of women and the ability of women to participate in public life. She cited the improvement in the number of women in the national assembly as well as in the executive.

Speaking on the Niger Delta she told members of the council to distinguish between criminality and the genuine aspirations of the people of the Niger Delta for better living. In his contribution Senator Umaru Dahiru, Chairman Senate Commitee on Human Rights, assured members of the council that the National Assembly was commited to ensuring the independence of the National Human Rights Council.

He said that the enabling law of the Council is before the senate and will be passed into law as soon as possible.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a new and unique mechanism of the United Nations which consists of the review of the human rights practices all States in the world, once every four years.The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations System.

Olawale Fapohunda leader of the Human Rights NGO delegation to the Council stated that the UPR process is a positive development for the promotion and protection of the rights of Nigerians. He said this is an additional protective mechanism to guarantee the rights of Nigerians.

A report on the state of human rights in Nigeria is expected to the adopted by the Human Rights council on Wednesday.

The UNHRC is the successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly. Based in Geneva, the UNHRC’s main purpose is to make recommendations to the General Assembly about situations in which human rights are violated. The UNHRC has no authority except to make recommendations to the General Assembly.

The General Assembly has no authority except to advise the Security Council.


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