The Controversy surrounding same sex mariage, though alien to Africa, has reached a note worthy point in Nigeria as the debate has now shifted to the National Assembly.
Our correspondent Calista Ezeaku, and Photographer, Dele Obinna sought the views of Nigerians on the issue.
Mr. Barisua Samuel Mkpe – Public Affairs Analyst
The French President, legalised gay marriage some weeks ago, making France the 14th country in the world that has lgalised gay marriage. In my opinion, I think these things are done by the supposedly developed countries for political reasons. They are not done for cultural nor religious reasons.
At any point in time when they are drawing closer to election years and they want to solicit support from the populace, because they have realised that in these countries, the homo-sexual population is increasing geometrically by the day and they need their votes, they will go ahead to legalise gay marriage for political reasons.
Coming down to Africa, I have said it time and time again that Africa used to be a culturally committed people and most of the things we copy from the western world are alien to us and what they are doing is cultural globalisation, using their culture to penetrate our space and make us to do what our parents and our fore-fathers never used to do.
Talking about world leaders like David Cameron and Barak Obama supporting gay marriage and even threating to withdraw aids to developing economies it’s still world politics. And I thank God that African nations and their leaders have stamped their feet on the ground to tell them “go to hell with your aid, we can do without your aid. We’ll do what is good as far as our culture permits”.
So for once, I think I have seen the House of Representatives and the Senate do what the generality of the people want. Hitherto, we had seen situations where they came out with legislations that are anti-people, unpopular legislations.
But on the issue of legalising gay marriage or otherwise they have done well. I even think fourteen years prison term is lenient. I believe that human beings are supposed to be higher animals in terms of our thoughts and all of that. If animals and insects know that there are male and female species in their own kingdom, then human beings too should know that when God took a rib out of Adam, He did not use it to produce another man, in Genesis chapter two. He used it to produce a woman, ( a man with a womb), to comfort Adam.
So even scripturally, there is no way a man can comfort a man. It is a woman that was created to help and comfort the man.
On the argument in some quarters that out lawing gay marriage will infringe on peoples’ freedom of association, some times I think we misunderstand what freedom of association means. If the people are coming together for a common vision, no body stops them from going ahead to assemble and pursue their vision and their goal. But when two adults come together in a society where the young ones are expectedly looking up to the senior ones for morals and all of that, it would amount to a polluted society if the young ones see their so called parents doing what is dirty, uncivilised and unacceptable in our society.
I have always posed this challenge to those who claim they are champions of gay rights, if you are involved in same – sex marriage, don’t adopt a child, reproduce your kind in that marriage, because the perfect will of God for man as regards marriage is to go into the world and multiple.
So if Barak Obama and David Cameron want to prove to the world that they passionately love a homosexuality, they should divorce their wives and get married. When the two of them get married, they would have shown the world that they re examples for gay – marriage.
Barr. Chuks Obimba
Personally, I think the actions of the National assembly are commendable. The origin of same sex marriage dates back to the time of Sodom and Gormorah.
That word sodomy is derived from the word Sodom, a city God destroyed because they were involved in homesexuality and it is one issue that God hates. It is not sane, it is strange for a man and a man to co-habit sexually.
So it is quite commendable for the law makers to have out – lawed it. And I think the proposed 14 years jail term is adequate. We must dare to be different from other nations.
I also believe that in some of these Islamic nations, such issue cannot be raised at all. I think Nigeria must strive as a nation to become independent. If Britain with draws aids to Nigeria, because of this issue, it may spur us to become self independent to start walking on our own. Afterall we cannot continue to depend on some of these foreign aids. Nigeria has a lot of intelligent persons. We are endowed both naturally and physically, we can do something on our own. The issue of same – sex marriage is strange and it must be greatl deprecated.
I think there is an extent to which we should have our liberty. Every liberty that is not curtailed will tend to excess use. So, every body should have a liberty but there are occasions one’s liberty should be curtailed.
So to me, the issue of legalizing gay marriage has nothing to do with freedom of association. If we must associate with one another, there has to be a limitation to such association. So, I believe that illegalizing gay marriage does not infringe on any person’s right. There could be certain traits that are in – born, which must be checked. That is the essence of law. If somebody picks up a gun and tells you that he has a perchant towards violence, you will not ask him to go and start killing people because he has a perchant toward violence. So if someone says he is not attracted to the opposite sex, I don’t think it is proper and valid for us to go ahead with what he is doing. There must be a law.
Every nation is different and every nation has a law that guides its conduct. For instance in Europe, there is no death sentence to murder cases, but in Nigeria if someone kills another unlawfully, the person certainly, will go for it.
So I commend the boldness of the National Assembly in out lawing same-sex marriage.
In 1997, I heard Obama define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. That was when he was campaigning. Now, it is not proper for a man to approbate and at the same time re-approbate. The same Obama that said that same – sex – marriage is strange, is now campaigning for the adoption of same-sex marriage. I believe that the issue of same-sex marriage is strange and it should be highly deprecated, abhord.
Hon. Gbosidam Prince Agbara – Politician
First of all, I thank the person who moved the motion against same – sex marriage in the house. Same sex marriage is not Nigerian custom and there’s no how Nigeria can adopt it. I am an Ogoni man, and in Ogoniland, I have not witnessed when a woman morries another woman. What our custom permits if for a woman who could not bear children for her husand to marry another woman for her husband. But that a woman will sleep with a woman, or a man sleeps with another man, it is not done! If such practiced is legalized; it will destroy this country.
Therefore, I support the House of Representatives not to allow that kind of marriage happened in Nigeria because it will tarnish the image of Nigeria. Britain and other world powers should realise that Nigeria is an independent country. We have a President. we have members of the National Assembly, they make laws for us, not Britain, not America. So, if Britain wants to withdraw its aids to Nigeria, over this issue, let them go ahead. Nigeria will still stand. Even the President will not accept that. In Ogoniland a woman cannot marry a woman and sleep with a her, we’ll kill you immediately. So we don’t support that. All these borrowed Western way of life is what is killing us today. Before in Rivers State, women tie wrappers and wear skirt. All this low waist, trouser and what have you, weren’t there. They were borrowed from the Western world and that is what is killing us today. If you go to the schools you see women exposing their breasts and other parts of their bodies, and if we should legalise same – sex marriage, it will be the worst. You will start seeing women and men romancing themselves in the public. We should try and make this country a perfect country, a respected place where we live.
Rev. Fr. Bartholomoe Uzoma – Priest.
I think the law makers are responding to the isssues of the moment because the issue of same-sex marriage has become topical in the past few years. I don’t even know why people are going for this same-sex marriage. I’m yet to know the justification, that what is unusual, what is abnormal is what people are beginning to clamour for. Much as I know as a person, same – sex marriage is unnatural, abnormal, unusual. So that law makers are beginning to rise up to the occasion means that they are listening to people and they are willing to condemn what is wrong.
I’m not moved by what the western world is doing. We all know that the family system has collapsed in the western world and the family is the hope of the society and that tendency is now coming down to us. Yes granted, the world is a global village and we are being influenced by what happens in other areas. It is not everything that happens there that we must borrow. Already the family system is in crisis, bringing same sex marriage into already existing crisis, we cannot manage it.
So I think the law makers are rising up to save our society and I wouldn’t like to dance to the popular opinion of the Western world.
They can withdraw their aids from Nigeria, and what about it.? Nigeria will not die. “Let them wthdraw it and there will always be a way out. Our lifes does not depend on them. Our lifes depend on God. If they have been giving us aids and Nigeria is still like this, then what have they achieve so far?
All of us know the state of things in Nigeria, what can we boast of, it is it the economy, is it moral life, is it education is it power, what do we have in this country?
So what is the aid they have been giving to us and of what use has aid been to us. Let them withdraw it. Let us know we are on our own and then go back to the drawing board and pray God to help us to know how to manage our country, Nigeria and how to make things better for us. Infact they are part of those confusing us in this country.
They colonised Nigeria. Have we ever been the same since then? Before the contact with the British, there was a stage of development in this country, no matter how slow it was. And with that contact, the whole thing was changed and we are no longer the Africans we used to be, we are not Europeans. We are at a confused stage. And they are bringing that confusion now to the marital system. So far, you can see, our culture has been able to put together the family system. Same –sex marriage is not for a family. A man and a man cannot form family. So it’s all about people satisfying their illicit sexual urge and desire.
Well I may not subscribe to jail term for offenders because in Nigeria the prisons do not reform people. People go to prisons and they become worse than they were before they went to prison. The mere fact that the law prohibities if means that it is not going to be allowed and can’t go to the court and say not you want to get married.
Short, Sharp, Shock-Treatment
There was a recent allusion from the Nigerian President, or the Presidency, about the possibility of some impending shock, meant to restore sanity in the country. It came as a warning to those who were alleged to be intent on destroying or destabilising Nigeria via insurgency, agitation and causing mayhem. Therefore, it has become needful to alert Nigerians about Nature’s Standing Order of Short, sharp, shock treatment (SSST), as a mechanism of restoring order when humans allow disorder to grow too high. In truth, there is such mechanism in the scheme of things.
Those who are familiar with Jewish cosmogony via the Kabbalah, would know that there is a flow of Divine influx, also known as Zazahot or lighting flash, which is an up-building and a restorative system. The 5th anchorage of that Divine Circuit system known as Geburah or Judgement has the duty or responsibility of restoring order and bringing about a balance, when disorder and imbalance become overwhelming in creation or a section thereof. Disorder and imbalances usually come from humans.
Being endowed with a free will and the freedom to make personal decisions and choices, which are often mis-used, humans bring about disorders and imbalances which distort the beauty and harmony of creation. Accumulation of massive impurities would necessitate a cleansing process to reduce the results of human engagements in acts of impunity, shamelessness and irresponsibility. Before catastrophies come there are usually warnings.
In the case of Nigeria, the warning signals have been persistent and loud enough even for obtuse persons to be aroused to a state of alertness. Nature has a process of educating human beings through bitter personal and collective experiences. No one can say that such warning signals and bitter experiences have not been there for quite some time. As a process of ensuring justice, there are watchers and weavers whose activities in the 100m of destiny entail monitoring the deeds of everyone with utmost accuracy. There are also provisions for deep reflections and possible redressing of imbalances.
Nigeria has been brought to its current sad state of affairs through many follies and deliberate acts of mischief. From Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s book Reforming The Unreformable, we are told that more than 5,000 board seats existed as sinecure, with political leaders having enormous patronage powers. We are told that a bad public service is certain to produce bad governance, even if the right accountability and other mechanisms are in place. Thus, there is a spiral of malfeasance.
From public service system, to tertiary education, we are told that “a systemic rot has befallen Nigeria”, apart from “inflating the budget by doubling or tripling the allocations…” Even with the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) bill which was approved in May 2007, there was no transparency or accountability in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. In both physical and process audit there are deficiencies in management and utility.
Okonjo-Iweala advised that “special care be taken to ensure that oil revenues are spent wisely to build up durable long-term assets whose benefits can be shared with future generations”. Nigeria’s great dependence on oil and gas whose vulnerability to global volatility of commodity market are important factors in the country’s need to reshape its economic structure and growth based on diversification. With regards to corruption, Okonjo-Iweala said that “cynicism about the fight against is greatest when allegations of corrupt acts on the part of the elite are not investigated with any vigour even when investigated …”
If human verdict is reflected in the dismal and sad score card available in the public domain, then the verdict of the watchers and weavers of human destinies must also be far worse. There are indications globally that visibly gathering dark storms would surely result in some catastrophes whose true nature no one can tell accurately. For Nigeria as an individual nation in the global family, it is obvious that the shock alluded to by the President is an omen of things to come.
However, no one is in a position to predict exactly the nature and intensity of the shock the president had in mind. Reacting to the President’s statement, a number of Nigerians expressed sadness that it was a warning to agitators who allegedly are trying to destabilise and disunite Nigeria. But the situation obviously goes beyond current activities of political agitators and bandits.
Normally it takes a long time for storms to amass such power that would result in a destructive shock. Therefore, it would be myopic and wrong to judge the Nigerian situation from a one-sided perspective. Across the globe, Nigeria features as one of the delicate zones where some shocks are most likely to arise. Already harbingers of warning signals include activities of Boko Haran and other agitators for Islamic states and sharia laws, spate of kidnappings and demand for ransom, etc. The commando-rescue-style of an American farmer held hostage in Northern Nigeria placed Nigeria as a vulnerable nation.
Prelude to any coming shock usually includes complacence arising from gluttony over loots. The fact that a few highly-placed Nigerians tried to exonerate late General Sani Abacha of accusations of looting, despite exposures of such deeds, is another evidence of a nation which needs a shock to regain sanity. It takes the collaboration of humans through various activities, to serve as agents in the fulfillment of the mechanism of destiny. Such human agents rarely know that they are serving the course of Nemesis.
Unlike the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) with its attendant miseries and woes, SSST comes as mechanism of Divine intervention, to ensure that those who deserve to die, die the death they deserve. It is fast and thorough, with long-lasting effect. It is a weapon of sective elimination.
Dr Amirize is a retired lecturer from the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.
Corporate Begging In Nigeria
I went to an office two days ago for a business transaction and at the gate was a well-dressed, cheerful security guard who zealously ushered me into the compound. I wanted to park my car at one end of the compound and he insisted that I should go another direction which truly was more spacious. And in my mind l was like, “what a dutiful staff”.
He was not done yet. As soon as I switched off my car ignition and was about to open the door to come out, he rushed and did it, smiling from one side of his mouth to another, offering unsolicited information and a guide on my whereabouts in the facility. I sincerely thanked him, hoping all the VIP treatment will not be a subtle way of begging for gratuity.
Behold, I was wrong. As l made to step into the building, he whispered “Madam, no forget the favour way l do you oo”. I had just encountered another corporate beggar. A day before, l had a bitter encounter with one, a pump attendant, at a petrol station who called me names for refusing to part with my hard-earned money. Having inquired about the well being of my family, admired my car and showered all unasked encomium on me, he expected a monetary appreciation which was not forthcoming and the next thing I heard was “stingy woman”.
They are everywhere. At petrol stations, banks, offices, both public and private hotels, you see a lot of people begging while on duty. At the airport, train station and in practically all-important offices in the country, “anything for the boys, your boys dey loyal oo”, seems to have become part of the official language.
Of course, this shameful attitude did not start today but it has taken a more serious, disturbing dimension in recent times. Many people, particularly the security personnel, front desk officers, customer relations officers have turned their duty posts to begging offices. They would always blame the current economic downturn for their unbecoming attitude which cannot be totally true because, at least, they are working and earning salaries no matter how little.
What about the millions of people who are jobless and have no means of livelihood? Have they all taken to the streets to beg?
One thinks it is a social malaise which has a lot to do with our ethical values. A lot of people in the country value money and other material things far and above integrity, self-respect and self-dignity and so, they will do anything, no matter how shameful, to acquire them.
A teacher once made an analysis of two families, one has four members and the other was a family of 11 people. Both families were given N200,000 each to spend for a month. According to her, half way into the month, the family of four almost exhausted their money and could hardly pull through till the end while the other family of nine comfortably made do with the amount they had and even had some balance. What was their secret? Prioritisation and prudent management.
Therefore, it is not so much about how much we make through our salaries, begging and other means but how we manage the money. There is hardly anybody in the country today that is not feeling the economic bite and the only thing that will help everybody both the low- and high-income earners is to set their priorities right and learn how to live within their income instead of hoping on tips from some “big men and women” and doing all kinds of ridiculous thing to attract their attention and the crumb. And we forget that the so-called big men most times also have loads of financial responsibilities.
On the national level, we also have to consider the damaging impact of officials begging and do something about it. Obviously, taking little tips from people would make officials skimp on their responsibilities, thereby making some unscrupulous elements have their way, exposing the country to avoidable vulnerability.
It is, therefore, imperative we must begin to build a new ethos that places emphasis on self-respect and dignity of labour. As part of the country’s 60th Independence celebration, the National Ethics and Integrity Policy was launched. It contains the nation’s core values of Human Dignity, Voice and Participation, Patriotism, Personal Responsibilities, Integrity, National Unity and Professionalism. All these values and how they will be practised to make for a better country and more cordial relationship among the citizens are thoroughly spelt out.
For instance, section 126.96.36.199, talking about Honour under Integrity states, “We shall at all times maintain uprightness of character, personal integrity and pride in ourselves as individuals, as one community, and as one nation. Therefore, in all spheres of life, we shall do what is demanded by our common values and laws that we hold to be true, in accordance with our national identity and in accordance with the values enshrined in our national laws and practices as one country. As Nigerians, we shall stand up to challenge those vices that impede the pursuit of our existence with uprightness. We shall celebrate those Nigerians who are upright”.
But then the big questions are, how many Nigerians are aware of this policy? What efforts are being made to educate the citizens on these core values? We have the National Orientation Agency, the Ministry of Information at various tiers of government, what are they doing to educate people about these code of conduct so that the people internalise it and it becomes a true guide for the citizens,
It is not enough that time, energy and resources were spent in packaging the booklet, let adequate sensitisation be carried out, using the media, both conventional and social media and other means of communication to reach to people at every nooks and crannies of the country because many Nigerians are losing it when it comes to integrity and the time to get them back on the right track is now.
By: Calista Ezeaku
Helping Local Poultry Curb Protein Deficiency
The Third National Development Plan in Nigeria (1975-1980) envisaged accelerated agricultural growth as being essential for future nutritional growth and emphasized the need for qualitative rather than quantitative food output. This was followed by the publication of a national food balance sheet by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources which revealed the critical extent of essential foods deficiencies in the country.
The target was the improvement of production management, the breeding and feathering of livestock as well as the provision of veterinary services.
From the period of the plan till date, the dream of attaining the required nutritional growth for the Nigerian populace had remained a far cry as outputs of animal products still fall below the minimum nutritional requirements.
Poultry, which involves the domestication of birds (fowls, turkeys, ducks and geese) kept for egg or meat production, is the quickest source of meat and its production process involves the least hazardous and arduous in relation to other livestock enterprise.
Hence, increased poultry production is one of the surest and quickest ways of bridging the animal protein intake gap in the developing countries of the world and in Nigeria, most importantly.
Although the task of bridging this protein intake gap appears formidable in view of the present economic and technological constraints besetting the livestock industry, its importance and the need to make it a reality must not be overlooked.
Known for its significant contribution to human nutrition and economic development, the poultry sector, according to Alabi and Osifo (2014) constitutes more than 57% of the total livestock production in Nigeria with many going into it for either meat, egg or both production.
With the ever increasing population of Nigeria, the poultry industry has not been able to meet up the animal protein need of the populace even as it has all the potentiality of providing the protein need of man. Many people still find it difficult to eat an egg in a year against the recommended average of 240 eggs in a year per person.
This indicates that despite several actions by both the government and few individuals, the chronic deficiency in qualitative food output still yearns for solution.
However, talking about solution, the problem of insufficient supply of hatchable eggs and day-old-chicks must be addressed. It has been observed that at certain periods of the year, hatchable eggs and day-old-chicks (DOC) go out of supply even with substantial amount of import, a situation that subjects peasant poultry farmers to booking for order and waiting for weeks without result.
Worst still, when these orders are eventually made available, almost all the farmers end up brooding birds at the same time and the result is an eventual egg glot in the market. Therefore, egg production calendar is now marked by glot and scarcity periods, as a result of irregular supply of the source of chicks and eggs.
For farmers in Rivers State, what can be a worse experience and set back than lack of adequate qualitative feed appropriate to the ages of the birds?
While farmers in the West and North, who have the privilege of proximity to source of raw materials are at liberty to formulate their feeds to desired standards, the Rivers State farmers see it as a very critical factor in poultry management.
They remain at the mercy of the commercial feed producers from the West who are more concerned about their profit even when the quality of the finished feeds tends to undermine the health and eventual performances of birds.
Moreso, the transportation cost of these feeds from the west to Port Harcourt, in no small measure, increases their cost of production high above what farmers from other states incure. The result is that the farmer in Rivers State is unable to compete favourably with his counterparts elsewhere .
Port Harcourt thus becomes a dumping ground for poultry products from neighbouring states which must be sold before products from within due to a downward slash in the price of the outside products, because of cost advantage.
Suffice it to say that for farmers in the state to meet up with the protein requirements of the state, a provision of functional feed mill that will formulate standard feed to serve the farmers within the state will be a great boost to the local industry.
Apart from the afore-mentioned, the problem of the poultry farmer in Rivers State, could be purely managerial and skill-based.
Like every field of endeavour, poultry farming is one sector which requires more than any other, a careful application of managerial expertise, if one’s capital investment is to be safeguarded and profitable returns expected.
The usual orientation of backyard poultry predominant in the western region of Nigeria has left many with the psyche that poultry business is an all-comers affairs, that could be started at any time without adequately counting the cost of commitment.
This has not just led to the abrupt abortions of many such ventures, but had in most cases devastated some homes who had put in fortunes, probably their retirement benefits just to make ends meet through poultry farming.
The later therefore, poses great concern as to the right attitude towards poultry farming.
By: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi
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