In a stern statement, Cross River state House of Assembly Speaker Rt. Hon Elvert Ayambem promised that those responsible for organising a recent gay party in Calabar would face the full force of the law.
Ayambem expressed deep concern about the event, which took place at a prominent hotel in the state capital, and emphasised that homosexuality remains a criminal offence in Cross River.
Mr. Mathew Okache, Ayambem’s Press Secretary, revealed in an official press statement issued on Tuesday that the Speaker had already initiated contact with relevant security agencies and stakeholders.
The goal is to apprehend and hold accountable all those involved in organising the party, thereby setting a precedent that will discourage similar occurrences in the future.
The Speaker’s steadfast opposition to the gay party reflects the prevalent sentiment in Cross River, where the practise is illegal.
Ayambem’s statement emphasised the urgency of the situation and the gravity of the offence committed, adding that the presence of underage individuals at the event exacerbated the gravity of the situation, raising concerns about the state’s protection and welfare of young people.
The public is eagerly awaiting further developments in the investigation, hoping that justice will be served and the law will be upheld.
The Speaker’s steadfast determination to address this issue head on demonstrates the government’s commitment to preserving societal norms and Cross River State’s legal framework.
“It has come to the Hon. Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem’s attention that on June 30th, 2023, a certain hotel in Ekorinim, Calabar Municipality, hosted a gay party in their premises, where underage teenagers were also in attendance.”
“As a deterrent, the speaker has already reached out to state security agencies and relevant government MDAs to ensure that the organisers of that obscenity and their collaborators are brought to justice.”
“He wants to take advantage of this opportunity to warn anyone or any organisation involved in such illegal activities to stop or face prosecution by the authorities.”
“It will be remembered that on January 7, 2014, His Excellency, former President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law the “Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill.”
“The law imposes a 14-year prison sentence on anyone who “(enters) into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union,” as well as a 10-year sentence on individuals or groups, including religious leaders, who “witness, abet, and aid in the solemnization of a same-sex marriage or union.”
“It also imposes a 10-year prison sentence on those who “directly or indirectly make public display of same-sex amorous relationships, as well as anyone who registers, operates, or participates in gay clubs, societies, and organisations, including supporters of those groups,” he added.
Rt Hon Ayambem also reminded hospitality operators in the state that no hotel or club should entertain anyone under the age of 18 at any time, unless accompanied by their parents/guardians.