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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Suspend Samoa Agreement Implementation, Reps Tell FG.

Following a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by 88 members, the House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government to suspend the implementation of the Samoa Agreement until all controversial clauses are addressed and spelt out.

In moving the motion on Tuesday, a member of the House, Aliyu Madaki, drew attention to the clause which highlights “gender equality” and describes it as a Trojan horse which could violate the morals of the country.

The House also mandated its relevant committees to investigate the controversial provisions of the agreement.

Controversy has enveloped the Samoa Agreement signed by the Federal Government with the European Union, with many frowning upon what they thought was the recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights by the Nigerian government.

The Samoa deal sparked a barrage of reactions online with many opposing LGBT rights, which is contrary to the anti-same-sex marriages and gay relationships law enacted in 2014 by then President Goodluck Jonathan.

At the press conference on Saturday, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu; alongside his counterpart in the Ministry of Information, Mohammed Idris, said Nigeria won’t enter into an agreement that was antithetical to the constitution as well as the religious and cultural sensibilities of the heterogeneous people of Nigeria.

Bagudu said Nigeria signed the agreement to boost food security, and inclusive economic development, amongst other vital areas.

Last November, the European Union, its 27 member states and 79 member states of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) signed an agreement in Apia, the capital of the Pacific island country of Samoa. Hence, it was referred to as the ‘Samoa Agreement’.

With the new agreement which succeeded the Cotonou Agreement, the parties are expected to be better equipped to address emerging needs and global challenges, such as climate change, ocean governance, migration, health, peace and security.

Nigeria signed the agreement on June 28, 2024, but it became public knowledge this week after a disclosure by Bagudu.

A Mix-Up?

In a review of the Samoa Agreement, after it was signed last November, the European Parliament observed that the initial draft agreement contained the LGBT provision but noted that member states “were reluctant to see the foundation agreement mention sexual orientation and gender identity.

Parties, however, reached a compromise to commit only to the implementation of existing international agreements on the matter.

Subsequently, LGBT rights were expunged from the final agreement and replaced with “gender equality”. Specifically, Article 2, clause 5 of the final agreement stated that “the parties shall systematically promote a gender perspective and ensure that gender equality is mainstreamed across all policies”.

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