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We signed Samoa Agreement to boost food security, others- FG

Amid allegations that the Samoa Agreement signed by the Federal Government backed homosexuality, the apex government has said that none of the articles in the partnership document were supporting actions banned under the 1999 constitution of the country.

The government stated that the agreement was signed after a thorough evaluation of the document to check the benefits awaiting the country under the partnership created barely a year ago in Samoa, a Caribbean nation.

It noted that the agreement that had become subject of criticism weeks after President Bola Tinubu approved that Nigeria join through the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (OACPS) with the European Union (EU) was seen as a veritable platform to boost food security, and inclusive economic development, amongst other vital areas.

The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, disclosed this on Saturday during a joint press briefing with his Information and National Orientations counterpart, Muhammad Idris, in Abuja.

Bagudu 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.

The economic planning minister explained that about 200 areas of cooperation were contained in the agreement signed by Nigeria and that aside from the agreement, an implementation agreement would be signed in each of the areas of cooperation.

He said the areas of cooperation would lead to “capital” and “technical support”, for Nigeria.

Asked why the Federal Government signed the Samoa Agreement, Bagudu told newsmen that the agreement was for multi-sectorial development.

He said, “When you get a copy of the agreement, you will see that this is a broad agreement. It is about education, it is about food security, it is about water and sanitation, it is about decent work, it is about demography, it is about youths, it is about culture and sustainable development, it is about inclusive economic development, it is about private sector development, it is about human rights, democracy and the rule of law, it is about good governance, public administration, personal data, peace and security.

“Each article is about an area of cooperation. We signed (an) agreement with the EU to say that we believe we can cooperate in these areas. In the several areas which are about almost 200 distinct areas.”

Bagudu said “about $600m worth of projects are coming under” the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) programme of the Federal Government.

The minister further said, “There was nowhere in the body of the document where you will see $150bn but these are agreements which I believe, like with other countries, define what we want to relate with those countries in, and how to about it.”

Bagudu said, “The agreement provides a proviso where each country, not just Nigeria, can issue a declaration clarifying some basis in which it is signed.

“We will make the declaration available, it’s a public document presented along with (the agreement), we didn’t offer it because of concerns about misrepresentation about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) for example.”

Controversy has enveloped the Samoa Agreement signed by the Federal Government with many frowning upon what they thought was the recognition of LGBT 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.

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