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Thursday, July 18, 2024

JUST IN: Reps recommend suspension of Samoa Agreement amid controversies

Amid same-sex allegations trailing the Samoa Agreement, the House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government to suspend implementation of the partnership till all contentious clauses in the agreement are addressed and thoroughly spelled out.

They argued that some sections of the agreements signed by the Federal Government and over 70 other member nations of the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) with the European Union were contentious and could spark a crisis during implementation in the country.

The recommendation on Tuesday followed a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by 88 members, demanding that the apex government put the implementation of the agreement on hold.

In the motion presented before the House, a member of the House, Aliyu Madaki, drew attention to the clause that highlights “gender equality” and describes it as a Trojan horse that could aid immoral in the country.

The recommendation came after the agreement was enveloped with allegations that articles inside indicated that the Federal Government would ensure full implementation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights.
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 former President, Goodluck Jonathan.

At the press conference recently, the 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.

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 (LGBTI rights)”.

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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