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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Nigeria Leads African Protest at World Parliamentary Meet, Mark Rejects Push For Same-Sex Marriage

Nigeria led the pack on Monday as a team of African countries protested the decision of organisers of the 127th Inter-Parliamentary Union to exclude some African countries.

Mark, who spoke as head of Nigerian delegation to the global parliamentary meeting in Canada, said that the city of Quebec, Canada, was given the nod to host the event because it promised to accommodate all parliaments of the world.

He said that Nigeria would not accept a situation where African countries were discriminated against at any meeting.

African countries like Mali and Uganda were denied participation at the IPU, as Canadian authorities denied their contingents entry visas. In some cases, only a few members of some parliaments were allowed entry into Canada.

In order to bring up the Malian security challenge at the meeting, Nigeria was, therefore, co-opted to liaise with authorities of the IPU and the parliamentary committee.

Speaking at the parliament’s meeting, Mark said that the world had a duty to combat divisive tendencies, but added that Nigeria would not accept lording of foreign culture on its people.

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Emeka Ihedioha, who corroborated Mark’s submission, said that the Canadian authorities had gone against their promise to accommodate all parliaments of the world.

Also speaking at the event, Mark rejected the push for international acceptance of same-sex marriage, saying that countries of the world were free to protect their values.

Mark had said: “Well, we were very disturbed about the exclusion of some of our members from the IPU. You see, one of the reasons why Canada won over London was on the understanding that all the IPU member countries would be issued visas to come but even within Nigeria and from Nigeria, we had a lot of delays in obtaining our visas.

“Syria, for instance was not given visas, Uganda also complained that all their delegates were not issued visas.

“We had the same problem with Mali and that was why we got a delegate from Nigeria to work with the Malian delegation so that we can put their item on the agenda.

“So, I would say really that Canada has not done too well in the issuance of visas to IPU member nations...”

Ihedioha also said that African delegates had to lodge a formal protest against the Canadian authorities to protest the shoddy handling of the IPU.

He said: “African delegates have in no small terms told the Canadian authorities that we are not comfortable the way they have treated our nationals.

“For instance, the Nigerian delegation was given only a single entry visa. We told them that it is unbecoming.

“If you are part of a comity of nations and you chose to host an international organization such as IPU, then of course you must open up.

“And it is very important that you deal with every section by opening, you accommodate all delegates that may choose to come for around.

“You cannot invite people and denigrate and embarrass them. We have made it very clear to the Canadian authorities.

“The Ugandan delegation spoke on behalf of African delegation. Our position was made very clear to them.

“That was why United Kingdom was not given the right to host the conference when they chose to because United Kingdom had indicated that they will not allow Zimbabwe to come in.”

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