Teriah Joseph Ebah, a 42 year-old Nigerian based in the UK, brought a case against Nigeria’s anti-gay law, not because he was LGBT himself, but because he decided he “wasn’t going to accept a Nigeria that was discriminatory”.
Ebah is married to a woman, and has a child, but sued on the basis that the anti-gay marriage law violated fundamental human rights protections, according to Buzzfeed.
Ebah asked that the law be declared unconstitutional, null and void, as it violated parts of section 42 of the 1999 Constitution, and parts of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, infringing on the rights of Nigerian citizens, criminalising those who perform gay marriages as well as those who advocate for LGBT rights.
Ebah’s lawyer held that anyone can bring a suit if fundamental human rights are at stake. The judge, Abdul Kafarati, disagreed, and threw out the case, stating that as Ebah himself was not affected by the law, he was not in a position to bring a case against it.
Ebah is living in the UK for the last 14 years, yet did not consult with LGBT Nigerians in the UK before he brought the case, nor did he contact rights activists in Nigeria. However, Nigerian LGBT activists do not see the case as a setback, they see it as clarifying the grounds on which their own pending cases may be successful.
If the question is one of standing, it may mean that if one is affected by the law, the case may have a better chance of being heard or even succeeding. According to Bisi Alimi, a Nigerian activist based in the UK, it may open “a better door for us to challenge the law”
According to NAIJ, since the act was signed into law, “no fewer than 32 persons have been arrested and arraigned in different parts of the country”.