The House of Representatives on Thursday ordered the Presidency to immediately stop the $40 million spying contract allegedly awarded to an Israeli Firm pending completion of its investigation into the controversial contract.
The said contract awarded to Elbit Systems, is expected to focus on the internet activities of Nigerian journalists, as well as monitor the activities of more than 45 millions Nigerians on the internet.
Ibrahim Shehu Gusau had raised a motion under matters of urgent public importance, saying the contact was awarded secretly in wanton disregard of due process, fiscal responsibility act and bureau of public procurement act 2007.
He argued further that the contract violated the basic privacy provision in Chapter 4 Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, arguing that the measure would not be the answer to the nation’s security challenges.
Gusau said, “The contract under the guise of inter legend gathering and national security may not be the answer to the glaring security challenges of today’s Nigeria. The rights to private and family life have been violated and breached”.
After deliberations, the House adopted that the federal government should suspend further action on the contract, pending the outcome of its investigation that will be conducted by the committees on ICT, Justice and Anti Corruption.
Meanwhile, the House has also passed a Bill against same-sex marriage in Nigeria. Once passed by the Senate and assented to by President Goodluck Jonathan, offenders risk 14 year jail term. It is titled “Same Marriage (Prohibition) Bill, 2013”.
The House states in Section 1(1) that, “Marriage Contract or civil union entered between persons of same gender is hereby prohibited in Nigeria”.
Section 1, sub-section 2 of the Bill states that “Marriage Contracts or civil union entered between persons of same gender are invalid and shall not be recognized as entitled to the benefits of a valid marriage”.
Section 1(3) warns that: “Marriage contract or civil union entered between persons of same gender by virtue a certificate issued by a foreign country shall be void in Nigeria, and any benefits accruing there from by virtue of the certificate shall not be enforced by any court of law in Nigeria”.
Also, the Bill seeks an outright ban of such unions in places of worship or any other place whatsoever. It states in Section 2(1) that “Marriage or civil union entered between persons of same Gender shall not be solemnized in any place of worship either Church or Mosque in Nigeria”.
In Sub-section 2, it states “No marriage certificate issued to parties of same sex marriage or civil union in Nigeria shall be valid”.
In Section 3, the Bill seeks recognition only for “marriage contract between a man and woman either under Islamic Law, Customary Law and Marriage Act”, which are the laws recognised in Nigeria”.
The proposed law also seeks to bar registration of gay clubs, societies and organisations, their sustenance, processions and meetings”, and also “the public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly”.
Section 5 of the Bill proposes that “Persons entered into a same gender marriage or civil union contract commit an offence and are jointly liable on conviction to a term of 14 years imprisonment each”.
“Any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations, or directly or indirectly make a public show of same sex amorous relationship commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment”, a section of the Bill states.
It goes further to state that “Any person or group of persons that witnesses, abet, screens and aids the solemnization of a same sex marriage contract or civil union or supports the registration of gay clubs, societies and organisations, processions or meetings in Nigeria commits an offence and liable on conviction on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment”.
“The developed economies can do whatever they want to do, but it is better to err on the side of God. We have culture and traditions, and we cannot ignore that. As far as we are concerned we have done what the people want by passing the Bill,” Zakari Mohammed, the House spokesman said about the Bill.