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House Of Reps Urges FG To Halt Implementation Of Samoa Agreement Amidst Controversy

ABUJA, FCT, NIGERIA – The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to halt the implementation of the Samoa Agreement amidst a controversy sparked by certain clauses, following a motion sponsored by 88 members on urgent national importance.

During the session on Tuesday, July 8, 2024, Aliyu Madaki, a member of the House, highlighted concerns over specific clauses, particularly one related to “gender equality,” which he described as potentially conflicting with the country’s moral values.

The House further directed its relevant committees to investigate the contentious provisions of the agreement.

The Samoa Agreement, signed between the Federal Government and the European Union, has stirred public outcry, particularly regarding interpretations suggesting it recognizes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights in Nigeria.

The online backlash against the Samoa deal underscores widespread opposition to LGBT rights in Nigeria, reinforced by the country’s laws against same-sex marriages and gay relationships enacted in 2014 under President Goodluck Jonathan.

At a press conference on Saturday, July 5, 2024, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, accompanied by Mohammed Idris from the Ministry of Information, affirmed Nigeria’s commitment to signing agreements that align with the country’s constitution, religious beliefs, and cultural sensitivities, reflective of its diverse population.

Bagudu emphasized that Nigeria’s endorsement of the Samoa Agreement in June 2024 aimed to enhance food security and foster inclusive economic development, addressing critical areas of national interest.

The Samoa Agreement, succeeding the Cotonou Agreement, was signed in Apia last November between the European Union, its 27 member states, and 79 member states of the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS).

This agreement equips parties to tackle pressing global challenges like climate change, ocean governance, migration, health, and peace and security.

Regarding concerns over LGBT rights, Bagudu clarified that initial drafts of the agreement included provisions on sexual orientation and gender identity, which were later removed.

The final agreement, as per Article 2, clause 5, emphasizes promoting a gender perspective and mainstreaming gender equality across policies, without referencing specific LGBT rights.

The European Parliament’s review noted member states’ reservations about explicitly mentioning LGBT rights in the foundational agreement, leading to the compromise to uphold existing international agreements on the issue.

In summary, Nigeria’s endorsement of the Samoa Agreement underscores its strategic alignment with national priorities while respecting global commitments within the framework of cultural and legal considerations.

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