Labeling to Silence

 

By Nwachukwu Egbunike

Also I cannot but ask: where were you all when this bill went through the first, second and third readings in the Senate and House of Representatives respectively? Has the talk about this bill not been on for the past three to four years? But as soon as the president gave his assent to the legislation, we have been singing non-stop.

The shattering chatter in Nigerian blogosphere that followed the presidential assent to Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2013 is yet to fade out. Gay marriage is a sensitive issue and expectedly, there has been dissent and praise from Nigerians. However, as is wont in Twitter Nigeria, the dissenters have been quite vocal and have left none in doubt about their views. They have raised their voices in anger and have tried to label those who disagree with them or cow them into shameful silence.

Let me make it clear right from the outset – I do not hate gays [actually I try not to hate anyone – be they polygamists, bigamists or whatever] but I support the law. I have no wahala with what two men/women do in the privacy of their rooms. It’s just that I prefer that they keep it to their rooms but when they decide to marry, I think it becomes public business. And when it becomes public business, I reserve the right to comment, a right which our dissenters and new defenders of unfettered conjugal freedoms would want to deny me. And they try to do this with a vehemence which I find offensive.

The position on Twitter of these advocates of unfettered rights to all forms of connubial arrangements can be summarized thus; anyone who supports this bill is ignorant and needs to be “educated”. However, this education by our Gnostic-like intellectuals spares no fools and by necessity is achieved via arrogance. For the simpletons who are so daft to accept this legislation, do so because they are prisoners of religious superstition. The slurs have been creative: it goes from “hypocritical bigoted bigot” to “fanatical religious moron”. I have stumbled on others like: arsenic homophobe, close-minded, barbaric dim-wit, etc. The list is endless.

It’s a matter of love and we have been told that it’s vile to deny marriage to gays. However, marriage is not available to all who are in love. Loving a person does not give you the right to marry them. A man cannot marry a woman who is already married; a woman who loves two men cannot marry them both. Besides, allowing gays to marry will not stop marriage discrimination for two consenting adult siblings or a mother and her son. The same applies to the over-hyped expression of sex being between two consenting adults. What happens when those ‘adults’ are two siblings or a father and her daughter?

Also I cannot but ask: where were you all when this bill went through the first, second and third readings in the Senate and House of Representatives respectively? Has the talk about this bill not been on for the past three or four years? But as soon as the president gave his assent to the legislation, we have been singing non-stop. This is democracy, if you want to change this law, join a political party and contest for HOR or Senate from your constituency. After all, 2015 is the year for general elections.

Besides, this law was not made ex nihilo! The pro-gay lobby has been voracious for quite some time now. This bill, to my mind is a reaction – perhaps an over-reaction – but a reaction nonetheless to this lobby. Going by the oft-repeated logic by the dissenters, gay marriage is the least of our problems in Nigeria – corruption and reliable electricity supply are the more pressing problems and these should have occupied the attention of legislature and the executive. Arguing like this is very unhelpful since it is tantamount to saying that all other pursuits of government must be put on hold because we have not yet killed corruption or attained constant electricity? Nothing else should matter, just these two. Arguments like this ignore the multidimensionality of governance and the possibility for a government to pursue multiple targets at the same time.

And it’s quite appalling reading misrepresentations like “14 years in prison for being gay in Nigeria!” Gosh, and from those who should know better that the jail term is not for being gay, but for contracting a same-sex “marriage”. Google is your friend, use it – the bill is here, download and read it.

Let me emphasize that not everything that has an emotional appeal is right, or culturally suitable or biologically proper or in consonance with social norms. And the spirit of all laws derives from the meeting point between these influences from culture, biology and social norms. Wisdom, they say is a bag, let each person carry his own.

Nwachukwu Egbunike is a writer, he authored “Dyed Thoughts: A Conversation In and From My Country” and he blogs at http://www.feathersproject.wordpress.com/

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ANAMBRA’S ABORTION LAW (1)

By   Sonnie Ekwowusi

What is happening to Imo State Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha at the moment over the legalization of abortion in Imo State readily attests that in constitutional democracy the government ought to be responsible to the people and not to its own whims and caprices. Abortion was legalized in Imo State through the backdoor without the knowledge and consent of the citizens of Imo State. Initially when confronted with this fact, Governor Okorocha flatly denied it, but after a long cross-examination, he eventually admitted the fact and quickly pleaded for forgiveness. I gather that he has requested the Imo State House of Assembly to repeal the offensive law.  I hope that the Imo State citizens would follow up to ensure that the law is truly and really repealed.

But aside from Imo state, abortion, unknown to many, has equally been legalized in Anambra State under the deceptive euphemism. “Anambra State Women’s Reproductive Rights Law 2005”. The law came into force on 17th March, 2005 when Dr. Chris Ngige was the Governor of Anambra State and Professor Brian Adinma was the commissioner for Health, Anambra State.

The Anambra “Women’s Reproductive Rights Law” is a 12-paragraph piece of legislation. Deceptively enough, the word, abortion is not specifically mentioned in the law. That is understandable. Because the word: abortion is repugnant in Nigeria socio-cultural and religious setting: because previous attempts to legalize abortion in Nigeria had been met with stiff opposition, UNFPA and other pro-abortion United Nations Agencies in Africa have been employing euphemisms and dodgy words in marketing abortion in Africa. For those still wondering whether the phrase “Women’s Reproductive Right” is another name for abortion, I attended the Reproductive Right Summit in Abuja in 2003. In fact it was at that Summit that I first understood the real meaning of the phrase: “Women’s Reproductive Right”.  At the lobby of the of the Ladi Kwali Conference Centre, Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, venue of the Summit, the Summit organizers displayed all sorts of abortificients and literature on permanent sterilization Vasectomy, female sterilization (Tubal Ligation), injectable contraceptives, IUCD, postinor2,Lo-femenal, norplant, suction tubes etc. Later, the organisers of the said Summit told journalists in attendance that the best tactics of promoting abortion in the media is to employ euphemisms and deceptive languages in reporting abortion so that it could easily be sold to the unwary public.

Three years after the said Summit, Senator Daisy Ehanire-Danjuma (then representing Edo-South at the Senate) sponsored an Abortion Bill at the National Assembly under the euphemism: National Institute of Reproductive Health bill 2006. I was one of the lawyers who faulted the bill at the Senate Public Hearing on the ground that even though the word: abortion was not specifically mentioned in the bill, it was nevertheless an abortion law per excellence. At the end of the Hearing, the National Assembly Health Committee heeded our argument and dismissed Danjuma’s Reproductive Health bill for lack of merit and for being incompatible with Nigeria law, public morality and public interest.

But as I said earlier, the Anambra State abortion law came into force on 17th March, 2005. Dr. Chris Ngige was the Governor of Anambra State and Professor Brian Adinma, the Anambra commissioner for Health respectively at that time. Prior to passing of the law by the Anambra State House of Assembly and signing of same by Dr. Ngige, the people of Anambra State were never consulted let alone invited to debate the Bill on it. If democracy is still government of the people by the people and for the people, the Anambra stakeholders should have been consulted at the time of the Anambra abortion law was being hatched more so when the law affects destiny of the Anambra people. Therefore for lacking in popular participation required in a democracy, and for being unconstitutional and incompatible with public policy, public morality and public interest, the Anambra State Women’s Reproductive Rights Law 2005” should be abrogated.

The most offensive section of the “Anambra Women’s Reproductive Rights Law” law is section 6(a) which states: “The view of the woman shall be taken into consideration for decisions: On the number, timing and spacing of the children…

To the uninformed, said section 6 (a) of the law might appear laudable, but to those familiar with the reproductive rights or sexual reproductive rights  politics., section 6 (a) has consistently been interpreted in many countries and places as giving women right to abortion and contraceptives. In fact section 6(a) was first articulated as an abortion right by the controversial proclamation on Human Rights in Teheran in 1968. In 1948 when all nations met and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) abortion was not accepted as a universal human right. (The UDHR is the first and only universal human rights document that has the backing of all the nations). Even there is no mention of reproductive rights in the UDHR. Reproductive rights began to appear as a subset of human rights in the controversial 1968 Proclamation of Teheran, which states: “Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and the spacing of their children”. But in the book, Resource Guide to the UN Consensus Language on Family Issues, compiled and edited by Susan Roylance, Greg S. Slater writes that the United Nations consensus language clearly limits abortions rights.

Nigerian state legalizes abortion in ‘anti-violence’ bill

By Obianuju Ekeocha

(Culture of Life Africa) – I just received a very disturbing news from my home state, Imo, situated in the southeastern part of Nigeria. Our State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, and the State Assembly have signed an odious anti-life bill into law.

Like most bills, it is very long and intimidating to read. But unlike most bills, it was kept secret – top secret. But it has now been brought into the light.

And what do you know? Buried under hundreds of paragraphs and thousands of words, was the right to abortion.

Yes indeed , the poisonous mix of “sexual and reproductive health” plus “family planning” has mixed the death potion of abortion.

In this little known state in Africa, the right to abortion has been signed into law without public notice and without anybody finding out about it.

Without further ado let me give you the details of this disturbing Law that sent chills through my spine and brought tears to my eyes.

The Law entitled Imo State Law of Nigeria Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) law No 12 , was “sold” silently as a law to eliminate violence in private and public life – to prohibit all forms of violence including physical, physiological, domestic, harmful traditional practices, discrimination against remedies for victims and punishment of offenders.

I know, that’s a bit of a mouthful and sounds innocent enough, but if you are learned, you read on page 38 of the Bill, in section 40 from paragraph (g) – (i) :

Every woman shall have a right to health, which shall be understood to mean the enjoyment of the highest level of physical, mental and social well-being, health care services, including those related to family planning in particular, rural woman shall have the right to have access to adequate health care facilities, including information, counselling and services in family planning.

Every woman shall have the rights to take decisions about her health needs and requirement. In particular, she shall have the right to determine the process concerning reproduction in her body.

Every woman shall have the right to enjoy reproductive rights including the right to medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the life or the physical, mental, physiological or emotional health of the mother. (Emphasis added.)

Here comes legalised abortion in West Africa. For anyone who is in the pro-life movement will surely recognise these words as the “bump key” that opens the flood gates of abortion. It is crystal clear without ambiguity. T

“A right to determine the process concerning reproduction in her body“?

A right to kill her own unborn child “where the continued pregnancy endangers her emotional health” ?

Wow! These could have just been the talking point of any pro-abortion proponent in Europe or America.

Photocopied section from legislation

In fact, this must be music to the ears of the wealthy pro-abortion cartel hovering over Africa like vulture,s waiting for the African leaders that will let them in to open up their violent business, the business of killing babies in the womb.

Surely they have been lobbing and pushing and prodding our leaders, and now one Nigerian Governor has capitulated to their lie that in order to eliminate violence against women, one has to declare violence against babies in the womb.

This is so distressing!

And ever since I heard it, I have interviewed many people in my home town. And one of those interviews was the one with Dr Philip Njemanze, who is undoubtedly one of the most prominent pro-life advocates in Nigeria.

He said this law was signed quietly many months ago (May 2012) but was only brought to his attention within the last week.

Being a very eloquent and passionate proponent of the Culture of Life, he sprang into action and started to raise awareness across the state through the media.

And because most Nigerians are uncompromisingly pro-life, there is now a strong call from the masses for the Governor to immediately abrogate this violently offensive law that was insidiously woven into a bill on Anti-Violence.

How ironic that a Bill on Anti-Violence should be used to usher in the highest form of violence – violence against the unborn child.

As the Government is now under the heat of the people, one of the government’s spokespersons has done a press release, vehemently denying Dr Njemanze’s allegations of legalised abortion.

And so in response and good faith Dr. Njemanze has sent me a copy of this odious law and I will share the most offensive page with you so that you can read it for yourself (as I did) and then raise your voice with us to ask for this law to be repealed for the sake of the unborn babies of Africa.

Africa remains a largely pro-life territory, and Nigeria remains a pro-life country with pro-life laws in place, so to have a State within Nigeria open its doors to the “Right” to Abortion is heartbreaking and gut-wrenching for all Africans. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere”.

We should never attack and destroy life in the womb. That is the most shocking barbaric violence that many Africans living in the developed world find hard to reconcile with – that any government in any part of the civilised world would sanction and even support the destruction of tender life in the womb.

We know and understand that injustice in the womb is indeed injustice everywhere. And violence in the womb, is violence everywhere.

We cannot allow this poisonous Culture of Death to seep into the African society not even through the smallest state or town or city in Africa. We cannot!

As a Nigerian woman in diaspora, I raise my own voice with millions of others, to ask, no- to beg the Governor of my State to repeal this law that is bound to claim the lives of countless unborn babies and scar the hearts of countless women.

I urge him to eliminate all violence in public and private life and yes even for those little ones who are enjoying  their private life in the womb!

DEMOCRACY HAS FAILED IN EUROPE AND AMERICA

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Many Countries in Africa are called third-world countries, war torn countries, Dark Continent and a host of other names. All  with an underlying presumption that Africa is not democratic. African countries, like Egypt, are in the middle of coup, others like Zimbabwe and Cameroon have dictatorship of varying degrees of tyranny. Yet, still others like Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya with some-what stable government are referred to as practising pseudo-democracy.

With the rate of election rigging and annulments of legitimately held elections, imaginable in other continents, little wonder these accusations stick.

Lack of a stable democracy has been fingered as lead cause of corruption in Africa and a consequent reason for its underdevelopment and unproductivety.

Africans have been told to emulate the ideals of democracy and how it is practised from the western countries- “model democracies”- where government is of the people by the people and for the people, where every right is respected and preserved, where  freedom of speech, religion  are inviolable.

Well, the current redefinition marriage in U.S.A  has, to a great extent, shown that the so called “model” democracy are worse than the most reprobate African autocrats and despots.

Again, take Ireland another western Country, for an example. An abortion bill was recently passed there, by parliament allowing abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, where the life of the mother is at risk which notably includes if the mother threatens suicide.  The Prime Minister Enda Kenny trampled over all consciences by denying a free vote within his party, demanding that his party colleagues should vote in favour of this horrific and fundamentally flawed piece of legislation and threatened to throw out of the party anyone who disagreed.

As Niamh Ui Bhriain of the Life Institute asked, “what kind of a leader is he? What kind of a leader throws a colleague out of the party for doing exactly what they told their electorate they were going to do before election?”

During their campaign in 2011, the Fine Gael party promised the Irish people that it would protect the lives of women and the unborn, this unfortunately they have broken. How many more promises will they break? Can the Irish people trust them any longer?

By their totalitarian action, the Irish Prime minister is no different from African despots who insist that their will must reign supreme? No different!

In the midst of all these threats, some party members broke rank and they were expelled from the party. Lucinda Creighton, one of those who voted against the abortion bill, resigned from her position as Ireland’s European Affairs Minister, saying the government broke a commitment to keep Ireland free of abortion. Another person, is Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames,(as she then was) who bucked her party’s leadership on Tuesday by invoking a rarely-used parliamentary procedure called a “reasoned amendment” to try and stop the bill from being heard by the Senate, unfortunately she did not succeed. She acknowledged that she was signing her own political death warrant, but said her conscience would not allow her to support a bill that ends human lives and, in her opinion, deceives women.

These are the true democrats and the heroes of democracy, since they understand, and rightly so, that their loyalty lies with their conscience and with the people who put them in power.

The Irish people in exercise of their democratic and constitutional right are calling that a referendum be called so that the people would have the final say, but the prime minister being a tyrant has refused.

The Irish citizenry are suffering from injustice; they are suffering from the infidelity of their representatives. In fact they are under the reign of the tyrants.

With this, I would be far wrong, were I to declare that democracy has failed in Ireland?

ANOTHER VICTORY FOR LIFE IN TEXAS

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The day before yesterday, was a day of great joy for persons who love life and are ready to protect life from the womb to the tomb. This great day, would be remembered by men, women and innumerable unborn children because it was the day the brave Governor of Texas, Rick Perry signed a bill into law which will place a ban on late-term abortion in his state.

In addition to banning abortion after 20 weeks, the law requires abortion facilities to meet the same safety standards as other ambulatory surgical centres, and requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. The need for this law arose, due to the falling and failing health standards which have been observed in the abortion industry. Notable and worth discussing, is the case of the Pennsylvania abortion Doctor, Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted for murder. Gosnell’s crimes include killing three post-birth infants and negligently administering a lethal dose of Demerol to a 41-year-old Nepali refugee. His clinic which during the trial was termed, ‘house of horrors’, was in deplorable conditions. The 2011 grand jury report described it as a “baby charnel house,” where Gosnell “regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy and then murdered these new-borns by severing their spinal cords with scissors.” How wicked.

Also women seeking Gosnell’s services fared no better. At his “filthy fraud” of a business, Gosnell “overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths.” That’s not all. He even employed Steven Massof, a medical school graduate, as an abortionist who never had his medical license. At the trial Steven admitted to severing the spinal cords of around 100 living and breathing new-borns.

It shows the little or no value abortionists like Kermit Gosnell have for life. That is why this new law is highly commendable, since it serves to protect the life and health of both an unborn child and the mother.

One may question why the whole celebration when the law does not proscribe abortion from the state. This law is worth celebrating bearing in mind that it will not be easy to stop abortion totally, but with this new law, abortions will be greatly reduced and it is a very big leap towards achieving our dream, which is to defend the inalienable right to life of all human beings, be it baby, a girl, a child with deficiency, an aged person or a sick person.

Already, it is envisaged that over 37 state abortion facilities would be closed since they would not be able to meet up with the health and safety requirements. On the day that the Gov. Rick Perry signed the state’s new late-term abortion ban into law, Planned Parenthood announced that they were closing three more clinics in the state.

Can we imagine, before the passage of this new law, what women and the unborn children were going through in order to get an abortion under the hand of abortionists who lacked expertise or even license? Or in clinics with deplorable conditions or lacking in equipments? Have you asked yourselves why 37 abortion clinics are going to be closed? These are questions that demand critical thinking.

Over the years, pro-choicers in advocating for the legalisation of abortion have always claimed that with legalisation of abortion, the procedure would be safe. But it seems to be false, because at least up to 37 out of around 42 clinics have proven not to meet up to health standards; many have been the conduit pipes of infections and all these have worsened the position of women in society.

I think, the time has come, for the structure of Planned Parenthood which throughout the years have been built and sustained by lies be brought down.

I thank God, and people like Governor Perry, Abby Johnson, and my pro-life friends -mostly the youths – for standing firmly for life. Abby Johnson I’m sure is very happy, because before becoming pro-life, she was once a director at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas which has now been closed.

It is said that those who do not listen to the teachings of history would repeat the same mistake. We in Nigeria are not bothered and are rather apathetic to these issues because we think that they only affect foreign countries which fortunately are far away. It is a big lie; the wind is blowing and unfortunately very fast. We may have to fight our own battles in the near future. We can see what the Americans and the Europeans are going through; they are legally killing their women and their unborn, and unfortunately they are learning their lessons the hard way.

Please let us not repeat their mistake, rather we should learn and fight for the truth.

A BLESSED EXPLOSION

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For 40 years, governments in Europe and America have held that the world is over populated. They have pressured their counterparts in Africa and elsewhere to curtail the powers of parents to have more children, claiming that parents could not be trusted to plan their families, and that the governments should take over the task. They sank huge funds into population control propaganda with such intensity that today there is a genuine problem of under population in many places.

However, recent findings has exposed the foolishness of these overpopulation scaremongers whose views have contributed in no small way to a high number of aged persons amongst many populace without the corresponding high number of young people to support them.

Many countries have now realised this too late. They have usurped the power of planning the family from the parent; suddenly they are now panicking, and are trying to reverse the ominous trend.

One country particularly affected is Egypt. Under the rein of the tyrant Hosni Mubarak who was ousted with the revolution, Egypt, apart from funding family planning programs, also funded publicity campaigns to curtail a population growth that was blamed for crippling Egypt’s development.

 Mubarak advocated that couples should have maximum of two children and this was propagated by slogans such as: “Before you have another baby, secure its needs. According to Dr. Nahla Abdel-Tawab, the Egypt director of the non-profit Population Council, “The president himself used to talk about population increases and it was also in the newspapers, even in the speeches of the Prime minister.”

Thankfully, the new president Mohamed Morsi, seems to have changed all that. Since he came to power, the Egyptian government is no longer saying anything about the over population. Health officials also have “taken a starkly different view of climbing birthrates, presenting the problem as one of economic management – not the size of the population.

Now, population has seemed to vanish even from public discussion. Health workers said they were stunned when Dr. Abeer Barakat, an assistant minister for health who is responsible for family planning, made no explicit mention at a United Nations conference in December of population or family planning in describing the Health Ministry’s priorities.

Birthrate (births per 1000 people) in Egypt is rising to 32, a level not seen since 1991.  Last year, there were 2.6 million births in Egypt, bringing the population to around 84 million people.  Population experts and European countries are not comfortable with the silence of the government, and are fearful that the Egyptians would start mass-producing babies again as if they were senseless.

I think I like what Mohamed is doing. He is leaving the parents to make the decision themselves. This point was well captured by Marcus Roberts who said that “The people who rose up in a revolution only a couple of years ago and braved their previous government’s soldiers and policemen to topple Mubarak are not bereft of ideas about how to limit their family size without the government telling them to.”

I think we should stop over flogging this mythical issue of overpopulation and rather spend more time on solving other illness like polio, malaria and HIV.

“The real problem is administration,” said Hamid al-Daly, a representative of the ultra conservative Nour Party and a member of the health committee in Egypt’s upper house of Parliament. “The population is a blessing if we use it well, and a curse if we mismanage the crisis.”

Africa countries like Nigeria are also under pressure from America and Europe to curtail her population. But we will bless that explosion if it comes. I think is high time that Europe and America realise that we Africans love the cries of children, we also need the man-power to become the next world continent. We implore, our distracters in line with the United Nations charter to respect our sovereignty and lets us be.

 

The Next Big Thing

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By Chinwuba Iyizoba

On Ash Wednesday, the 36th session of IFAD’s Governing Council convened in Rome with a focus on the power of partnerships to reduce rural poverty and ensure food security worldwide and Africa was once again on the agenda. In an address delivered by Pope Benedict XVI to the president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)Mr. Kanayo F. Nwanze,  one can see that Africa’s food problem is the Pope’s great concern. The Holy Father thanked the Organization for the constant attention given to Africa and the supporting projects of “rural credit” with which IFAD aims to endow small farmers with modest but essential financial resources to empower them.

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