LGBT: Reps tell FG to suspend Samoa Agreement

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By Ihechi Enyinnaya

The House of Representatives on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to suspend the implementation of the Samoa Agreement till all contentious clauses are addressed and spelt out.

This followed a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by 88 members.
In moving the motion 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 directed its relevant committees to investigate the controversial provisions of the agreement.

Controversy has surrounded the Samoa Agreement signed by the Federal Government with the European Union, with many criticizing it as an endorsement of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights by the Nigerian government.

The Samoa deal sparked a wave of online reactions, with many opposing LGBT rights, which contradict the anti-same-sex marriage and gay relationship law enacted in 2014 by then-President Goodluck Jonathan.

At a press conference on Saturday, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, along with the Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, stated that Nigeria would not enter into an agreement that contradicted the constitution or the religious and cultural values of the Nigerian people.

Bagudu emphasized that Nigeria signed the agreement to enhance food security and promote inclusive economic development, among other key 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, thus referred to as the ‘Samoa Agreement’.

With this new agreement, which succeeded the Cotonou Agreement, the parties aim to better 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 only 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 noted that the initial draft contained an LGBT provision. However, member states were reluctant to include references to sexual orientation and gender identity (LGBT rights).

The parties eventually reached a compromise to commit only to implementing existing international agreements on the matter. Consequently, LGBT rights were removed from the final agreement and replaced with “gender equality.” Specifically, Article 2, clause 5 of the final agreement states that “the parties shall systematically promote a gender perspective and ensure that gender equality is mainstreamed across all policies.”