On the 7th of January 2014, the then President of Nigeria declared the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, a national law after 7 years of it being in transit under both houses of assembly. Asides criminalizing same sex marriages and civil unions with punishment of 14 years imprisonment, the Act states that anyone who ‘supports the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organizations, processions or meetings in Nigeria’ is liable on conviction to 10 years imprisonment. This has forced many human rights NGOs and groups to shut down their activities and has lead to a ‘crackdown on LGBTI groups and individuals who already faced astronomical incidences of human rights abuses even before the Act was passed. Freedom of Association is recognized as a fundamental human right under International Human Rights Law and has been described as a prerequisite for a true democracy. It can only be limited under a number of stated of grounds. The paper seeks to analyze the implication of the law on the right to Freedom of Association and more importantly on how civil society in Nigeria through activism has been able to fight for and defend this right.
Jake Okechukwu Effoduh . Council on African Security and Development . firstname.lastname@example.org