Minister of Information, Labaran Maku

Minister of Information, Labaran Maku

Nigeria and the United Nations Human Rights Council may clash over the country’s current position on the abolition of death penalty and same-sex marriage.

This emerged during a post-Federal Executive Council meeting briefing addressed by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, on Wednesday.

Maku said President Goodluck Jonathan, who presided over the meeting, presented a memorandum seeking FEC’s approval of Nigeria’s Second Cycle Universal Periodic Review report (2009 to 2013) to the UNHRC, Geneva Switzerland.

He said after four years of presenting Nigeria’s national report to the council, the country was required to submit a report on the level of implementation of the recommendations.

He said after considerations, FEC approved the report and directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to present the report to the council in Geneva, Switzerland in October.

The minister said out of the 32 issues raised in the last report in 2009 relating to Nigeria, substantial progress had been made in 30.

He identified the two areas where Nigeria had continued to differ with the council to include the abolition of death penalty and the clamour for same-sex marriage.

Maku said, “We are happy to note that of the 32 issues that were raised in the last report in 2009 relating to Nigeria, we have made substantial progress in about 30 of those issues. These include issues relating to press freedom, the rights of citizens and the rights of women.

“There are two areas Nigeria has continued to differ with the United Nations Human Rights Council and these two areas have to do with the abolition of death penalty as well as the clamour by some nations for the enforcement of same-sex marriage.

“On these two, substantial progress is being made in terms of the death penalty issues within our statutes that we need to resolve, and it is not only Nigeria, but even the United States and several other countries have not yet abolished death penalty. It is something to be pursued and it is also something that we need time, change in attitude, change in perceptions, and change in laws for these to become reality.

“There are still philosophical, fundamental differences of opinion on the matter of the death penalty. It is not something that we have a national consensus on now for Nigeria to make a definite decision on this one.

“But in relation to same-sex marriage, also we still have fundamental differences within our country and so we are trying to look into it and see what position Nigeria will take.”

Maku however said it would be difficult for any nation to enforce a value that was strange to its society.

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