Nigeria’s Federal High Court in Abuja has thrown out an attempt to overturn the country’s new anti-gay law.
Mike Enahoro Ebah, a UK-based straight Nigerian, challenged the constitutionality of the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act.
The law, signed by President Goodluck Jonathan in January, outlaws any kind of same-sex relationships with imprisonment as well as criminalising anyone who supports or operates gay clubs, societies or organisations.
Ebah claims that the act violates LGBT Nigerians’ human rights, which should be protected by the country’s Constitution.
Justice Abdu Kafarati, however, failed to rule on his argument or the law itself and instead threw out the suit on the basis that Ebah is not entitled to challenge the law because he’s not a member of the LGBT community and has not suffered from its effects.
“This is a fundamental right action and the applicant must show that he has suffered from the action of the defendant or is about to suffer an injury,” said the judge.
“The applicant in this case has no locus standi to sue on behalf of the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender community (LGBT). In the final analysis, the case is accordingly struck out,” he ruled.
Ebah, who is a supporter of the LGBT community, is expected to appeal the judge’s decision.
Gay sex is illegal in Nigeria with penalties including 14 years imprisonment. Twelve northern states in Nigeria operate under Islamic Sharia law that allows homosexuality to be punished with death by stoning.
The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act further criminalised expressions of homosexuality. Since it was signed, the country has seen numerous arrests of people accused of being gay that have resulted in those found guilty being publicly lashed, There have also been reports of mob attacks on people suspected of being gay.