The House of Representatives, has stepped down a bill seeking to amend the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, (2013) so as to criminalise cross dressing in the country.
Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, who presided at yesterday’s plenary, while ruling on the bill, said the proposed legislation, if passed into law, would infringe on the culture of some parts of the country where men are allowed to tie wrapper as cultural dressing.
Sponsor of the bill, Muda Lawal Umar, in his lead debate, had stated that though Nigeria is a diverse country in terms of religion and ethnicity, same-sex marriage and cross-dressing were alien to different religions and ethnic groups. However, after the deputy speaker’s intervention, Umar applied to step down the bill for further legislative consultation.
Similarly, the House, stepped down the second reading of a bill for an act to establish Nigeria Diaspora Intervention Trust Fund and for related matters.
The bill, which was sponsored by Kabiri Rurum and Bamidele Salam was stepped down after several members objected to its general principles.
Salam, in his lead debate, had stated that the bill seeks to provide a framework that would substantially protect the investment of Nigerians in the diaspora, whose annual remittances to the country runs into billion of dollars.
“This trust fund is in principle in existence through the initiative of the Nigerian in Diaspora Commission but it is not governed by an act of parliament and we believe very strongly that for the trust fund to be protected and for it to have the desired effect, in terms of providing a framework to protect the hard earned resources of our fellow citizens who send in their monies from the various parts of the world into this country.
“We decided to have a framework which put together a body of honest Nigerians to offer this support to Nigerians in diaspora. Number one; it will encourage them to remit more of their money to the Nigerian economy and two, it will also provide this economy with the needed benefit of having the best value for the money that is being remitted.”
However, several lawmakers including Lynda Ikpeazu, said the proposed legislation was unnecessary.
“If the diasporans decide that they want to invest in Nigeria, I think it is a personal decision that they investigate and make informed decisions as to where they want to invest. I don’t believe that the legislation is necessary.
“We legislate on everything and that is dangerous. The idea of this fund should be something that should be left to private individuals and it is not something that we should sit in this hallowed chambers and make a legislation on. Funds don’t give our people in diaspora that protection. What we need to protect their interest, their investment in Nigeria is strong and formidable laws and institutions that will protect their interest.”