Bachelor Thesis, 2016
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.4 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
1.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.6.1 RESEARCH DESIGN
1.6.2 SOURCES OF DATA
1.6.3 RESEARCH INSTRUMENT
1.6.4 SAMPLE SIZE AND SAMPLING TECHNIQUE
1.6.5 METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE AND JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
1.8 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
1.9 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
1.10 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
1.11 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
1.12 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
2.1 CONCEPTUAL REVIEW OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE LAW
2.2 CONCEPTUAL REVIEW OF THE NATURE OR CAUSE OF HOMOSEXUALITY
3.1 ORIGIN OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND HOMOSEXUALITY
3.2 AN ACCOUNT OF THE ANTI-GAY LAW IN NIGERIA
4.2 DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS OF RESPONDENTS
4.3 DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.3.1 Nigerians’ Conceptions of the Causes and Effects of Homosexuality
4.3.2 Reasons for the Promulgation of Anti-Gay Law in Nigeria
4.3.3 The Evaluation of the Anti-Gay Law within Context of Human Rights
4.4 DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
4.4.1 TESTING OF HYPOTHESIS
From age long ago, as evident in history of human existence, male and female genders usually enter into a marital union or institution to either procreate offspring or relish sexual pleasure. The necessities for this union further substantiate the claim of Aristotle that “man by nature is a social animal”. Implying that man cannot live in isolation of others except, he be a beast. According to the bible tradition, the institution known as marriage was created by God at the beginning of the world in Genesis. Evidently God created a male and a female to marry and procreate. Jesus further expatiated this in the New Testament, when he said a man shall leave his parents and, cleave to his wife; and the twain shall become one (Genesis and Mathew). Summarily, the bible claims that marriage must be between adult male and female for the purpose of procreation.
Marital union is often conceived to be an association between a man and a woman purposely for procreation alone. However, history shows that this is not always true, as such union had been established between persons of same biological sex as against the religious and cultural traditions notion of marriage; this means that marital union can be between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. The first known historical mention of the performance of same sex marriage occurred during the early Roman Empire (Bosswell cf Obidimma and Obidimma, 2013). For instance, it is recorded that Emperor Nero married one of his “freed men” called Pythagoras, solemnly in the public and they lived together as spouse, and he also married one man more. The child Emperor Elagabalus married Hierocles (the king’s chariot driver) and Zoticus (an athlete) with no constraint in a public ceremony (Cassius, 1984). To show that same sex marriage phenomenon is not peculiar to Europe or other continents alone, Tamale (2014) claimed that African history is replete with examples of both erotic and non-erotic same sex relationships. He gave surfeit examples of places and persons in Africa, where and who respectively practiced homosexuality such as langi of northern Uganda, Kabaka Mwanga 11 of the Buganda Kingdom of the present day Uganda, in the 19th century, was homosexual, Basotho women in present day Lesotho, Wolof people of Senegal, Ndebele and Shona in Zimbabwe, Azande in Sudan and Congo, Tutsi in Rwanda and Burundi, among others. He distictinctly mentioned the practice of homosexuality among the people of Nupe, in the northern region of the present day Nigeria, before colonialism.
This revelation decimated the argument of those that often claim that homosexuality is alien to Africa and Africans. Thus, homosexuality is not a new phenomenon, however, what is new is the legal recognition of homosexuality as demanded by United Nations Human Rights and some Western nations and USA. Nigeria is not immune from this agitation for the legal recognition of homosexuality within its jurisdiction.
Netherland was the first country to legalize consenting homosexual behaviors in 2001 (Obidimma and Obidimma, 2013). Countries such as France, the Great Britain, the USA, Ireland, among others have also legalized homosexual marriage. In Africa, South Africa remains the only country that has formally legalized homosexual marriage, while about 38 countries have criminalized consenting homosexual behavior; as the rest are yet to criminalize or legalize it in Africa (Tamale, 2014).
Some 76 countries have “discriminatory” laws that criminalize private, consensual same sex relationships thereby exposing individuals to the risk of arrest; prosecution and imprisonment (United Nations Human Rights, 2012). Some have offered cultural and religious arguments as reason for the criminalization of homosexual marriage. The issue of legalization of consenting homosexual behavior became ubiquitous (especially in Nigeria) as a result of the interpretation of the human rights laws. This translates into recognition of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons’ rights by the UNO. Hence, the cultural barrier factor against the resolution of the United Nations Human Rights on the human rights of the homosexuals brought the issue of legalization of homosexual marriage to the fore of national discussion in Nigeria.
Nigeria is an amorphous combination of diverse ethnic groups and tribes, created through amalgamation of administrative necessity in 1914 by the British Metro pole. It is coincidentally, religiously divided along its geographical partition; the Northern Nigeria is populated with more Muslims, while the Southern Nigeria is more home for the Christians. Although by constitution Nigeria is a secular state, it is highly conservative with religious practices and dictates such that public opinions in Nigeria reflect religious and cultural proclivities.
Despite the fact that the Abrahamic Religions (Judaism, Judeo-Christianity and Islam), like the mainstream history, attest to the long time existence of homosexuality, some interpret these religions as ones that frown against homosexuality. Therefore, homosexuality could not survive legal test amidst Nigerians religious conservatism. In fact, according to a 2013 Pew Research Report: “Nigeria is the world least tolerant country of homosexuality with roughly about 98 percent of country’s population opposing society’s acceptance of homosexuality”.
In Nigeria, the anti-gay (anti-homosexual) bill was first introduced under President Obasanjo’s administration to the National Assembly in 2006. However, it was passed into law by the Nigerian Senate on November 29, 2011 and subsequently by the House of Representatives on July 2, 2013 (Sessou, 2013). The bill was finally assented by former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on January 7, 2014 (Obidimma and Obidimma, 2013). “When signed into law, the Act would:
1. Make a person who enters into a same sex marriage contract or civil union liable for 14 years’ imprisonment
2. Make a person who “registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organization, or directly or indirectly make public show of same sex amorous relationship in Nigeria” liable for 10 years’ imprisonment 3. Make a person or group of persons that “witness, abet and aid the solemnization of a same sex marriage or civil union, or supports the registrations, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organizations, processions or meetings in Nigeria” liable for 10 years’ imprisonment”.
Consequently, the anti-gay law of Nigeria was reacted to by the United Nations Human Rights, the USA, some European countries, among others (Okanlawon, 2013)
The thrust of the study is to test the Nigeria’s anti-gay law as a state’s law against fundamental human rights as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and the United Nations Human Rights Resolution 17/19 (2011). The study ultimately seeks to establish whether the law is against human rights of the homosexuals or not.
Literature is replete with discussions on the subject matter of legalization and criminalization of homosexual behaviors through states’ laws. See for instance, Sen (2004), Mohammed (2002), United Nations Human Rights (2012), Ikpang (2012), Olanrewaju et al (2015), Okoli and Abdullahi (2014), Okanlawon (2013), Sergey and William (2006), Todd and Michael (2006), among others.
For instance, Roger (2007), Sen (2004), Mohammed (2002) have written on the conceptualization of human rights, its difficulty and the problems of humanitarian intervention and sovereignty. However, they did not address the nexus between the promotion and protection of human rights by some states, international organizations in Nigeria (and elsewhere), and the non-negotiability of the sovereignty of Nigeria and Nigeria’s cultural values, which divergent point in this work.
Furthermore, Jacob (2012) claim that Nigeria through her membership of the United Nations Organization (UNO) committed itself to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which means Nigeria is obliged to promote and protect the human right of its citizenry. However, available literatures have offered little or no explanation to the vicissitude of sharp contrast and contestation between the state’s law and human rights (especially the human rights of the homosexuals). Also, what is left out for critical discussion and investigation in the available literature in the context of argument of anti-gay law in Nigeria is the collision of rights, which bring to view the human right of one infringing on the human right of others. The right to conscience, thought, religion and cultural divergence of the state clash with the right to privacy, association and conscience of the homosexuals.
The call for the legalization of same sex marriage in Nigeria or elsewhere precipitated the argument between nature and nurture as responsible for homosexuality. Some conservatives argue that homosexuality is a personal choice or the result of environmental influence. Some gay rights activists insist that homosexuality is genetic, hoping that proof from that domain will lead to greater acceptance (Michael Abrams). Available literature give no scientific and social investigation to the nature of homosexuality in respect to the argument of legalization and criminalization of homosexual practices in Nigeria.
Finally, it is important to recall that due to the fuel Subsidy Removal Saga of January 2012, the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan lost popularity as there is massive widespread criticism against the policy of the government. This unfaithful event continue to mar the acceptability of the administration. To resuscitate the acceptance and popularity of the administration, the criminalization of same sex marriage was politicized. Hence, there was collision between human rights of homosexuals and domestic politics.
The aforementioned socio-political and scientific problems or gaps in the available literature will form the foundational basis for the research work.
The following research questions will guide this study:
1. What are the causes of homosexual behavior among the affected population?
2. What are the effects of homosexual practice on those involved and the society at large?
3. What are the bases for the enactment of anti-gay law in Nigeria?
4. To what extent does the enactment of anti-gay law violates human rights in Nigeria?
5. To what extent does the international politics of human rights affect Nigeria’s enactment of anti-gay law?
The overall aim of this study is to evaluate the same sex marriage prohibition law in Nigeria and the issues of fundamental Human Rights; however the specific objectives of the study are to:
1. Determine Nigerians’ conceptions of the nature and effects of homosexuality, and how they affect the adoption of the same-sex marriage prohibition law.
2. Examine the parameters on which Nigeria’s adoption of the antigay marriage law can be seen as violation of human rights.
3. Examine how the notions of cultural imperialism and sovereignty in relations to the international politics of human rights, as well as prevailing local factors such as religion and so on affect Nigeria’s enactment of the anti-gay law.
Based on the aforementioned research questions, the following hypotheses are formulated for this study:
1. The same-sex marriage prohibition bill that was finally passed into law in January, 2014 was as a result of cultural bias, right to conscience, maintaining the concept of state sovereignty, Nigerians’ opinion about the nature of homosexuality and the political interest of the politicians
2. The anti-gay law was enacted without consideration for the human rights of the homosexuals
As a result of the nature of the study, both the primary and secondary sources of data collection will be explored. The secondary data collection will be done through journals, media publications, textbooks, scholarly articles and internet materials. Also, the primary sources of data collection that would be explored in the course of study will include both interview and administration of questionnaires. Interviews will be conducted with some selected political science and psychology experts and the data obtained will be analyzed using thematic method of analysis. The questionnaires will be administered by Nigerians and the data that will be gained through the questionnaires will be analyzed using the statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) data analysis.
This study will be conducted with both quantitative and qualitative research and therefore adopts exploratory research design. Exploratory research design is adopted on the bases that it can be used to identify relevant or salient behavior patterns, beliefs, opinions, attitudes etc. [towards homosexuals, human rights and anti-gay law in Nigeria], and to develop structures of these construct. It can be used to explore reasons that lie behind the statistical differences between groups that may emerge from secondary data or survey. Lastly, it could be used to ‘data dredge’ or explore quantitative data to reveal hitherto unknown connections between different measured variables. On this note, exploratory research design [that includes qualitative and quantitative research methods] is suitable for this study (Ogunbameru O. and Ogunbameru B., 2010).
Data for this study will be sourced using questionnaires and in-depth interview to get information from selected respondents in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun in South West Nigeria. For both interview and questionnaires, purposive sampling will be employed to choose the respondents. The interview will be conducted with seasoned lecturers in the subject matter from Obafemi Awolowo University. Furthermore, the sex, religion, perspective to life and the geographical location of the residence of the chosen respondents will be considered for the questionnaire.
Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife is the study area of location for this research work, although the research is expected to reflect the views of Nigerians across cultures and religions (especially the Abrahamic religions, in Nigeria). Obafemi Awolowo University is a federal university; therefore it is an amorphous of students hailing from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres of the country. In addition, students practice all kinds of religions especially Christianity and Islam, also there are students without religion on Obafemi Awolowo University Campus. Lastly, Obafemi Awolowo University is located in Ile-Ife, Osun State, South-West Nigeria. It has roughly estimated thirty thousand students.
The instruments that will be employed in the generation of data for this study will be closed ended questionnaires and in-depth interview. The reason for adopting these instruments is to generate correct and up to date information from respondents.
The target populations for this research in terms of the in-depth interview and questionnaire are seasoned lecturers and students (that are Nigerians considering the geographical of the residence, either the Northern or Southern hemisphere of Nigeria) of Obafemi Awolowo University respectively. The technique for the selection of sample will be through purposive sampling technique. The purposive sampling technique is also known as judgment sampling technique, it is a type of non-probability sampling. Hence, the respondents will be chosen on purpose, which is to make sure the questionnaires are administered to people from both northern and southern parts of Nigeria and to people with various religious beliefs. For the in-depth interview experts from the field of psychology and political science will be made respondents to get professional and intellectual views on the subject matter. On this note, the sample size of 100 respondents for questionnaires and 2 in-depth interviews would be used for this purpose.
The data collected from the participants will go through statistical analysis, using statistical package for Social-Science (SPSS) software for windows. The responses of the participants will be subjected to analysis using descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages and thematic analysis for both questionnaires and interview respectively.
The analysis of the data will be done in stages. Firstly, the data that will be gathered will be pre-coded for easy entry of the data into spreadsheet. Secondly, the coded data will be carefully entered into a spreadsheet and therefore proper verification of the data entered into the spreadsheet will be made. Thirdly, the analysis of the data will be made and tables showing the frequencies and percentages of the result of the analysis will be derived. The fourth and last stage will show the interpretation of the results of the analysis. The two in-depth interviews would be recorded and transcribed for thematic analysis
This study is significant and justifiable on several grounds. One, the study other than contributing to the body of knowledge aims at proffering clarification and insight as well as solutions to the attendant problems of adopting the same-sex marriage prohibition law. This study aims at tackling through its findings, the nexus of cultural imperialism and the sovereignty of Nigeria through the politics of human rights of the homosexuals in the international system. Furthermore, the findings of this study will be channeled towards fixing the problem of the impacts of Nigerians’ opinion about the nature of homosexual on the adoption of Anti-gay Marriage Law and the maintenance of human rights. Finally, this research will direct its findings to resolving the challenges of human rights and same-sex marriage (prohibition) law in Nigeria.
This study is to specifically determine the grounds used as justification for the adoption of the anti-gay law in Nigeria, and then test the justification for the law as either a violation of the specifications of the fundamental human rights of the homosexuals or not, in both foreign and local contexts.
The study will base its findings and arguments around and within theories such as liberalism, nature and nurture. Liberalism was developed and propounded by John Locke, however the idea of liberalism started with the political philosophy of Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes etc. The English civil war (1642-51), the French Revolution and American of late eighteenth century. The Great Revolution of 1688 were all channeled towards the ideas of liberalism. Consequently, liberalism emerged fully in the nineteenth century through the industrial Revolution, the writings of philosophical Radicals such as Jeremy Bentham, J.S Mill, Spinoza, Adams Smith, David Ricardo, among others. Roger Scruton’s (2007) saying shows how relevant liberalism is to this study, when he said that: “the history of liberalism is contemporaneous with the successful attempts of those subjects to government to curtail its powers and to secure for themselves charters, statutes, institution and forms of representation that will guarantee the individual’s right against the invasions of the sovereignty power” .
Liberalism can be summarily described as an idea that includes ideas such as limited government, individualism, freedom and natural rights [the natural right theory is what culminates into human rights in the contemporary] which exist independently of the government, humanism, universalism, toleration and detachment from tradition, custom, religion and prejudice. In final analysis reason is the guide for judgment (Roger, 2007). Andrew Heywood (2003) identified core values and beliefs to be the individual, freedom, reason, justice, toleration, and diversity. All the core beliefs or ideas embedded in liberalism will be used in determining whether the anti-gay law is an abuse of human rights of the homosexuals or not.
The theories of nature and nurture will also be a guide to the study. Although nature and nurture theories had been in existence, as a matter of discussion, since the ancient Greek. They were used to discuss individual’s innate qualities and personal experiences. However, the modern use of the word was popularized by Francis Galton in his discussion of Eugenics used nature and nurture theories to explain the influence of heredity and environment on social advancement (Appleton, 1895). Rene Descarte, John Locke, William James, and the likes contributed immensely to the discourse of nature and nurture.
These theories arose (in context of sexual orientation discourse) as a result of sharp contention in regards to the nature of homosexuality between the conservatives and gay activists respectively. Theory of nurture proposes that homosexuality is as a result of social condition or environmental influence (environmentalism), or homosexuals choose that sexual pattern as a matter of preference. Theory of nature, as advanced by gay rights activists, propose that homosexuality is genetic, which makes it as natural as heterosexuality (Michael, n.d.). The theories of nature and nurture will be used in examining the perception of Nigerians on the nature of homosexuality; and why homosexuals should be able to practice or not.
Since 7 January, 2014 that Nigeria outlawed same-sex marriage and organizations as well as persons promoting homosexual rights with punitive measures. Hence, it is expected that there will be limited academic materials on the subject in Nigeria. Looking at the variables involved in carrying out a comprehensive research on the subject, variables such as homosexuals and 7th National Assembly members can hardly be accessed; consequently, this poses limitation to the study.
Lastly, owing largely to the time students were allotted supervisors in the department, it is reasonable to say time factor could be a limitation to this study.
For proper understanding of this study contextual clarifications of certain concepts used are necessary. These include gay marriage, human rights, cultural imperialism, among others.
- Gay Marriage: Gay marriage (same sex marriage) is a union that allows any two consenting individuals of the same biological sex to form intimate relationship (Olarenwaju et al, 2015). Obidimma and Obidimma (2013) established that the term “gay marriage” has become the general term used to define marriage between same sexes whether between males or females. There are various names same-sex marriage is called which includes homosexual marriage, gay marriage and gender neutral marriage. Hence, anti-gay marriage could also be called anti-homosexual marriage, anti-same-sex marriage etc.
- Human Rights: Human rights are those rights possessed by virtue of being human. Human rights are universal legal guarantees protecting individuals and groups against actions and omissions that interfere with fundamental freedoms, entitlement and human dignity.
- Sovereignty: Sovereignty, like other terms in political science, is contentious in meaning. However, Benoist (n.d.) sees the avalanche of definitions of sovereignty in one of the two ways. He viewed sovereignty as one hand, referring to independence of a state (i.e. the freedom of a collective entity to act). While on the other hand, he opined that it refers to power and legitimacy of a constituted and recognized authority (i.e. popular sovereignty). Ayoob (2002) saw sovereignty in terms of authority, which in his final analysis he agreed with the second view of Benoist on sovereignty.
- Cultural Imperialism: Cultural imperialism is the economic technological and cultural hegemony of the industrialized nations, which determines the direction of both economic and social progress, defines cultural values, and standardizes the civilization and cultural environment throughout the world (Sandbacka,1975). Cultural imperialism is achieved through internationalism, the politics of international system, especially through globalization and promotion and protection of human rights
The research work will be made up of five chapters in all. Chapter one comprises of background to the study, statement of the problem, research questions, objectives and hypothesis. Others are the significance and scope of the study, theoretical frame work, limitation of the work, and definition of key terms and organization of the study. Chapter two reviews extant and recent relevant literature on the chosen topic and chapter three gives historical background to the discourse. Chapter four presents, analyzes and interprets collected data including revealing of the research findings, while chapter five summarizes and concludes the study.
Abram, M. (n.d). Born Gay? Is homosexuality nature or nature? Science is homing on the answer. (n.p.)
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Okanlawon, K. (2013). Resisting the Hypocritical Western Narrative of Victimhood and Celebrating the Resistance of Homophobia in Nigeria. Hivos People Unlimited, Hague, Netherlands.
Olanrewaju, F, Olarenwaju, A and Chidozie F. (2015). International politics of Gay Rights and Nigeria - it's Diplomatic Relations . European Scientific Journal, Vol.11, pp. 504-520.
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Sessou, E. (2013). Nigerian Law is against our Fundamental Rights-Gays. Saturday Vanguard, June 29, 2013.
Sylvia T. (2014, 26 April). Homosexuality is not Un-African. Retrieved 26 October,2015. fromwww.america,aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/4/homosexuality - africamuseveniugandanigeriaethopia.html
United Nations Human Rights (2012). Born Free and Equal: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Human Rights Low. United Nations, New York and Geneva.
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