Home » Gay Allegation: Nigeria can’t try Swiss envoy – Lawyers

Gay Allegation: Nigeria can’t try Swiss envoy – Lawyers

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Reactions yesterday continued to trail the media report, which alleged that the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Eric Mayoorza, was being investigated by the Federal Government for allegedly coming to the country with a gay partner. While the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, in a statement has said: “The government has ordered an investigation and appropriate measures will be taken for any wrongdoing”, a cross-section of lawyers who spoke with Saturday Telegraph said the Nigerian law could not catch up with the Swiss envoy. The lawyers hinged their opinions on the grounds that there was diplomatic immunity for the envoy. Commenting on this, Mr. Awa Kalu (SAN) said Mayoorza’s immunity was total. “If he has a gay partner, that is his private affair. Moreover, if the marriage was not contracted in Nigeria, it makes it more difficult for him to be prosecuted under Nigerian law. At any rate, once you have called him a diplomat and he is accredited, then that puts an end to the inquiry,” he said.

Corroborating Kalu’s position, Mr. Yusuf Ali (SAN), said the Swiss Ambassador had diplomatic immunity and, therefore, couldn’t be tried in the country of his service. “This is because the premises of an embassy is like the country of origin. That is why you can’t arrest people in an embassy, you cannot also invade an embassy. “The only way he can be tried here in Nigeria is if his country waives the immunity, if not no country can do anything about it,” Ali said. Also commenting, a constitutional lawyer, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, said a diplomat could not be tried under the law of the country where he is serving different from his country. “There is diplomatic immunity for the Ambassador. The laws of his nation protect him. The only thing is that his partner can be prosecuted if he steps out of diplomatic protected area. “For instance, if he goes to Eko Hotels, he can be arrested. But the Ambassador himself cannot be arrested. To arrest an Ambassador, you have to notify his country. “However, the act by the Swiss is disrespect to the laws of Nigeria. The Western society had continued to push the immorality to us in Nigeria.

This case is an attempt to further push the abnormality on the country. The norm is that an Ambassador should be sensitive to the laws of the country he is serving. “It should also be noted that every country has its own law, I think the case at hand should be between the Government of Switzerland and that of Nigeria. It is a violation of Nigerian law by the Swiss government. It should be looked at beyond the personality now but the country itself,” he stated. Also stating his own position, the President of Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL), Mr. Abdul Mahmud, said Mayoorza could not be tried under the Nigerian law for the alleged offence. “The first question should be whether the partner is a Nigerian? If the answer is no, then there is no way that a law which was enacted by the National Assembly two years ago can be used to arrest and prosecute him. “He is an Ambassador and he has diplomatic immunity, but if he decides on his own to exercise his sexuality outside the boundary of the Swiss embassy, he may have committed a crime against Nigerian law. “The only thing we can do is to ask the Swiss government to withdraw the diplomatic immunity of the Ambassador so that he can be tried if he has committed any offense, but as long as his gay activities happen around the premises of the Swiss embassy, he has not committed any offence against Nigerian law,” he said.

Source: New Telegraph

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