Activists protest campaign on teaching Gay Courses at UNN
Gender Activists, led by foremost human rights Lawyer, Dr. Abiola Akinyode-Afolabi, Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, Iyom Josephine Anenih, Funke Baruwa and a host of others described the campaign on teaching Gay Courses at University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, as “unfounded, unfair and one of calumny against the academic excellence of the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof. Joy Ezeilo.
The women were protesting a social media campaign which has gone viral by Nigerian Society for `the Promotion of Cultural Values and circulated by an American Organization, CitizenGo, alleging the teaching of homosexuality as a course for Year Two Law students at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The CitizenGo Global Campaign titled: “Stop this university from offering homosexuality and surrogacy courses” is urging Nigerians to rise against the academic authority of the University to ban the teaching of the courses to Part two Law students.
On the website of the Organisation, the campaigners are asking everyone “Sign this petition asking the deputy Vice-Chancellor of University of Nigeria Nsukka , Enugu Campus, to revoke LGBT and Surrogacy courses at the University. The courses not only offend students’ religious beliefs on family but are also contrary to Nigerian Law.”
But the Gender Activists have pledged to resist attempts by any group or individual behind the campaign to disparage the academic excellence of Prof. Ezeilo which has been achieved through sweat and hard work of many years.
The message on the site reads as follows:
“The University of Nigeria Nsukka Enugu Campus, Faculty of Law started teaching their second-year students LGBT and Surrogacy.
Nigeria is a pro-family country and these courses don’t only offend many students’ beliefs on family but also are contrary to the law.
The Same-Sex Marriage Act, passed in 2013 and enacted in 2014, provides for prison sentences of 10 years for Nigerians belonging to a gay organization, supporting same-sex marriages, or displaying same-sex affection in public. It also calls for up to 14 years in prison for any Nigerian who marries a member of the same sex.
“The criminal code of 1990 also prohibits any acts supporting or suggesting homosexual acts, the same attracts 14 years in prison.
“Surrogacy is also illegal in Nigeria. Surrogacy has been related to human trafficking and the non-ethical invitro-fetilization process. It has also been used by gay couples to obtain children.
“Surrogacy in its entirety is unacceptable and has been rejected in many countries worldwide.
Ann Kioko and the entire CitizenGO Team
PS: This petition is by our partners in Nigeria, Society for the Promotion of Cultural Values. They are very concerned that these two very controversial units are being taught at the University with approval of the Vice Chancellor.
However, the University authorities in a statement from the office of the Public Relations and signed by Okwun Omeaku, denied the allegation by the group describing it as “ridiculous and a complete fabrication.”
Our Correspondent, spoke with the Chief Public Relations Officer who confirmed issuing the statement and also said, “the group’s aim is to tarnish the glowing reputation of our Faculty of Law and that of the University of Nigeria”.
He noted, “Of course, the Faculty of Law teaches Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act in the Criminal Law Class. It is part of the penal codes of the land and our students must be properly informed”.
Omeaku urged the public to disregard “the ranters, instead, they should check the University handbook for contents of all our Law courses”.
Reacting however, the Administrator of CitizenGo called on anyone challenging the petition to take up the Society for Cultural Values who is behind the campaign in Nigeria.
In the statement titled: “Task them if you think the allegations are false. “Go Citizens: I will appreciate if all your class members dealt with the organisation. Our page is used by so many organisations to run petitions and we have no responsibility of what they write”
Responding to the campaigns, Prof. Ezeilo told our Correspondent, “I have been out of the country travelling but I have been inundated by phone calls and WhatsApp messages on this.
“Of course, this is a campaign of calumny and this is ridiculous and a threat even to academic freedom. She also observed, “A growing intolerance even within the academia. They cannot silence me! Too late!
“We do not teach such courses at the Faculty as mentioned in the write-ups. Of course, we cover in the Criminal Law classes Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. It’s part of the penal law of the land and our students must be properly informed,” Ezeilo concluded.