Friday, March 30, 2007

Nigerian Ban of Civil Rights Stalled

Background for this ugly piece of legislation, supported, and some suggest initiated by, the Anglican Church of Nigeria, can be found here. The text of the proposed law can be found here.

Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, issued a press release yesterday. Here's part of it:

...The present sitting of the House has finished, and they asked the panel of Human Rights which continues to meet, to go and review the bill again. It is difficult to say categorically that the current House has been totally suspended because a lot of manoeuvring is taking place ahead of the election. It may be reasonably safe to assume the bill has been abandoned for now.

What we are hearing from CAN members in Anglican congregations in Nigeria is that the church leaders have been feeling big pressure on them and some are very angry because they expected the bill to be voted on prior to the end of this session. There are also rumours that money has exchanged hands, American money, and yet it has not proved easy for the Anglican Church leaders to push the bill through the House of Representatives. Corruption remains widespread at every level of Nigerian society...

...Because of the continuing uncertainty, Changing Attitude Nigeria will not celebrate the defeat of the bill publicly until after May 29. We are quietly confident and feeling more happy, but there is still the potential for lobbying in favour of the bill to take place by the Church of Nigeria and for the Government to spring a surprise. However, if the Church was confident about the success of the bill, we think they would be issuing a confident public statement now, which they are not.
The House of Bishops have said no to the demands of the Primates' Communique, which we now know were inserted by Abp. Akinola. And now his pet piece of legislation seems doomed. March has been a bad month for the Primate of All Nigeria.

Note that although the State Department of the USA, most human rights organizations and some of the Bishops of TEC have condemned this legislation, so far the Anglican Communion, including the Primates, have been silent.


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