The furore arising from President Goodluck Jonathan’s assent to the bill prohibiting homosexual marriage reverberated on the diplomatic circles, yesterday, as it emerged that Canada has cancelled a scheduled state visit to that country by President Jonathan.
The cancellation was described as a reaction to President Jonathan’s decision to give assent to the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2013 which penalizes homosexual partnerships in the country.
Online news portal, Saharareporters.com had first published the story on its site weekend.
The cancellation nonetheless, Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak upheld the president’s action, saying that there was no way homosexual marriages will accelerate the nation’s socio-economic progress.
Despite the challenge from the diplomatic arena, further commendations came the way of the President for assenting to the bill. The latest commendation came from the Prelate and Moderator of the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. Emele Uka who described it as a bold step aimed at reforming the society along godly ethics.
The president’s visit to Canada which is at the instance of the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper was scheduled for February.
The cancellation follows the harassment of Nigeria’s diplomatic staff in the Nigerian High Commission in Canada by the homosexual lobby in that country.
The decision to cancel President Jonathan’s state visit to Canada was communicated through the Nigeria High Commissioner to the Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola Onwuliri who in turn passed on the message to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.
Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati in his reaction, yesterday, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would respond to the development.
Gulak slams US, Canada, others
Calling on the international community to respect the cultural sensibility of Nigerians and other African countries on the issue of same sex marital relations, Gulak in an interview, yesterday, said that “the hostile reaction of Europeans and the United States to the recent signing into law of the bill that outlaws marriages and sexual relations between people of the same sex has not taken into consideration the socio-cultural differences between people of different racial backgrounds, and more importantly the religious beliefs of our people.
“What the anti-gay law has tried to achieve is to protect and promote family values as we know it from the start; we accept that the Europeans have reached the height of their civilization, we are yet to see how marriages between persons of the same sex will accelerate our own socio-economic and technological advancement of our people.
“We value the bilateral and multilateral relationships between Nigeria and its international partners and we believe that no unnecessary pressure will be brought to bear on us to accept what our people consider to be abhorrent.”
“We are yet to see how this same sex practice will reduce inequality, reduce the grinding poverty facing our people. Same sex rights and privileges will not generate employment, enhance health care, improve education and technological growth which is what we need now. We know that those who are into this practice are in the minority, the US and EU should respect the sensibilities of those in the majority who abhor the practice of same sex relations.
“The law makers deliberated carefully on the bill before passing it and sending it to the president for his assent. We cannot dictate to Europeans on what bills they choose to make; they have been passing legislation to regulate migration of Africans into their countries without any complaints from any other country, some states in America have legalised the use of marijuana for medical purposes, ordinarily we should see that as a welcome development since we have people who grow the weed here, but for the sake of the health of our people, we cannot say what is good for America or Europeans must be good for us.
“I think it is a big distraction for these countries to assume that same sex marriage is our utmost priority at this stage of our development.
“Nigeria will continue to respect the rights of its citizens but those who want to engage in mercantile promotion of human relations that the society does not accept may be incurring the wrath of the law”.
The European Union and the US had threatened to review their economic assistance to Nigeria for signing the bill which they had lobbied hard to stop.
The Presbyterian Prelate, Most Rev. Uka in a statement in Calabar, Cross River State, described as unacceptable, the increasing global incidence of ungodly homosexual relations and the legal adoption of same-sex marriages.
“There are over 600, 000 same sex families in the US with about 115, 000 of them raising children who shall eventually become homosexuals,” he said.
“Homosexuality as one of the greatest human deviant behaviours has been with man from earliest times. Man has fought it for a long time but it refuses to die. For instance, about 40 years ago, homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. Today, it is considered a normal sexual behaviour and a human rights issue.
The Prelate charged President Jonathan to remain focused and not to be intimidated by the opposition of the western world to his assent to the bill.
On steps to address the issue of homosexuality, Most Rev. Uka said that the way forward is to follow the biblical panacea of seeking the Lord while He may be found, fleeing from sin and confessing to attract God’s forgiveness.
“Thank God there is hope, a cure for the sins of homosexuality, lesbianism, incest, rape and adultery. We should note that these mentioned perverse sexual lifestyles attract God’s punishment. For such, God warns that hell, not heaven is the final destination. And how is God’s cure received? In exactly the same way as other types of sinners receive forgiveness through confession and repentance.”
The Prelate admonished that, “as modern man wallows in his rottenness and extreme carnality, as they become far removed from the divine and the glorious, as they begin to ravage the world and seek to exterminate it, let us do our best to resist the devil and he will flee from us.”
Economic and diplomatic ties
Canada’s grouse is that more than 30 people have been arrested, since the law was signed on January 7, 2014 and there are worries that more arrests will follow.
Until Jonathan signed the law, prosecution of gay people had largely been centered on the predominantly Muslim north, where gays have long been punished under Sharia law. Canada does not have substantial economic interest in Nigeria but the country has been wooing Canada to invest in the mining, rail transportation, sea ports reform, education, and infrastructure. Both countries expect trade volume from these sectors to generate over 16 billion dollars in 2015. The relationship between both countries has been buoyant as they have maintained high level diplomatic contacts.
It will be recalled that in April 2012, Nigeria’s former Foreign Affairs Minister Olugbenga Ashiru visited Ottawa, where he signed the Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Bi-National Commission, which covers four major themes: political relations, commercial relations, security cooperation and development cooperation.
Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.
President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.
Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.
He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.
He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.
“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’
“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.
“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.
“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.
“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.
“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”
However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.
He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.
“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”
CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers
The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.
Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.
“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?
“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.
“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.
“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”
Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.
“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.
“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.
Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike
Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.
Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.
The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.
Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.
Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).
Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).
The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”
On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.
The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.
“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.
The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”
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