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Reps urge FG to suspend implementation of Samoa Agreement, move to probe contentious clauses

The House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government to suspend the implementation of the Samoa Agreement over the alleged “LGBTQ+ clause”...READ THE FULL ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE▶▶

The House directed its Committee on National Planning to investigate the agreement within four weeks.

The House resolution followed a motion of urgent public importance moved by the Deputy Minority Leader, Aliyu Madaki, and 87 others on the floor of the House on Tuesday.

The Samoa Agreement is the overarching legal framework for the European Union’s relations with 79 countries. This includes 48 African, 16 Caribbean, and 15 Pacific countries.

Last week, a Nigerian newspaper, Daily Trust, ran a story that claimed the agreement contained a clause to legalise same-sex relationships in Nigeria.

However, the Federal Government has countered the claim, stating that Nigeria has “existing legislation against same-sex relationships.”

Meanwhile, Daily Trust agreed that the report had some lapses and promised to review and take appropriate measures.

“We have followed with attention what these government officials said and left unsaid, and we will publish that in full for the records. We have also acknowledged lapses in our reporting on this particular matter, pointed out to us by professional colleagues, and we will review and take appropriate measures,” the statement released by the newspaper said.

Despite all these clarifications, several lawmakers who spoke on the agreement “falsely” claimed that it contained some pro-LGBTQ+ clauses that conflict with Nigerian laws. But none of the lawmakers provided the specific clauses.

Moving the motion, Madaki claimed that the said clauses are in conflict with Nigerian law, adding that the government must not take any action that is against the values of the country.

“Articles 2.5, 29.5, 36.2, and 88 in the Samoa Agreement that was signed by the federal government may be inimical to the interest of Nigeria as a country and the values of our people as a whole, more so it does not contain a reservation clause.

“Article 2.5 states that parties shall systematically promote a gender perspective and ensure that gender equality is mainstreamed across all countries,” he said.

Madaki further interpreted the phrase “gender perspective” as a “Trojan horse to deceptively bring in all sorts of immorality to our country, as gender no longer means two sexes, male and female, as traditionally understood. It now includes homosexualism, lesbianism, transgenderism, and animalism.”

Speaking against the motion, the Majority Leader, Julius Ihonvbere, challenged his colleagues to provide a specific portion of the agreement that talks about LGBTQ.

He added that the 150 articles of the agreement contain no mention of same-sex relationships.

I think the public has been misled on this. Let me state, there is no portion of the agreement that is on LGBTQ. If you have it, bring it here. In fact, three ministers have come out, including the Minister of Information, and Budget and Planning, to say that there is nothing like that in the agreement, and that it was never mentioned. It was never mentioned, and there is nothing like lesbian rights in the agreement. If you have the agreement, bring it out here. There is nothing like that,” he said.

However, in what has now become a pattern, some members shouted down Ihonvbere and prevented him from making his submission.

Despite the explanation, Alex Ikwechegh (LP, Abia) continued the false claim that the agreement contained a condition on the legalisation of same-sex relationships.

Also, the Chief Whip of the House, Bello Kumo, maintained the same line of argument in his submission.

In his contribution, the Minority Leader, Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), cautioned his colleagues from passing judgement since the motion is seeking an investigation into the agreement.

He also blamed the Federal Government for the controversy on the agreement, adding that it was a case of lack of information.

He said the executive arm should have carried the lawmakers along in the negotiation of the agreement.

“Because this is an investigative motion, I will caution that we should not be judgmental in our argument. It is clear, when the Federal Government is going into any agreement, by virtue of section 12 of the 1999 constitution; the parliament ought to be carried along.

If the parliament had been carried along, this argument, even for the people we represent, would not have come up because Nigerians would have been better informed. The problem is about the lack of information. As parliament, we want to be satisfied that what the government told Nigerians is actually the truth. That is all we are arguing for,” he said.

After a long debate, the presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Ben Kalu, put the motion to a vote, and members voted in support of it.

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