Samoa Agreement: Reps didn’t ask FG to suspend implementation, says spokesman

Samoa Agreement: Reps didn’t ask FG to suspend implementation, says spokesman

The House of Representatives has dismissed reports that it called on the Federal Government to suspend the implementation of the Samoa Partnership Agreement.

The clarification was made on Wednesday by the House spokesman, Akin Rotimi.

Rotimi, who represents Ikole/Oye Federal Constituency, Ekiti State, said that contrary to media reports, lawmakers resolved to investigate controversial clauses in the agreement to ensure that they do not violate the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The All Progressives Congress lawmaker noted that the House urged the government to engage in widespread consultations and stakeholder engagement concerning the agreement.

He said, “During the debate, concerns were raised regarding alleged clauses purportedly mandating support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community as a prerequisite for financial and other aid from developed nations.

“Additionally, apprehensions were expressed about several specific articles within the agreement, including Articles 2.5, 29.5, 36.2, and 88, which some lawmakers believe may not align with Nigeria’s national interests and values, especially in the absence of a reservation clause.

“Rep Aliyu Sani Madaki had argued that Article 97 of the agreement, which asserts the supremacy of the agreement over any conflicting treaties involving European Union member states or the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States, potentially infringes upon Nigeria’s sovereignty.

“In response, House Leader, Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo) clarified that the agreement, as officially presented, does not include provisions related to a $150bn fund or any clauses promoting LGBT rights in Nigeria, contrary to public speculation.

“Emphasising the importance of parliamentary oversight, House Minority Leader, Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) underscored the need for transparency in treaty negotiations, citing Section 12 of the Nigerian Constitution (1999, as amended), which mandates parliamentary involvement in such matters.”

He insisted that the House did not call for the suspension of the agreement’s implementation.

He added, “It is important to clarify that the House of Representatives did not resolve to call for the suspension of the agreement nor the suspension of its implementation, as has been erroneously reported by some media houses.

“Instead, the House resolved to thoroughly scrutinise the Samoa Partnership Agreement for all contentious clauses through legislative hearings.

“Furthermore, the House mandated its Committees on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements; Justice; and National Planning and Economic Development to engage with relevant stakeholders to address any ambiguities in the agreement. The committees are expected to report back to parliament within four weeks.

“In reaffirming its commitment to shaping Nigeria’s foreign policy in line with national interests, the House emphasises its Legislative Agenda 7 (Influencing and Directing Nigeria’s Foreign Policy) to harmonise constitutional requirements with the Treaty Ratification Act for consistency and transparency.”

The Samoa Agreement, signed on November 15, 2023, establishes a new legal framework for the European Union’s relations with 79 African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries, including 48 African, 16 Caribbean, and 15 Pacific nations.

A recent report in a national daily (not The PUNCH) alleged that the Samoa Agreement includes a clause that would legalise Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer relationships in Nigeria, alleging that the government accepted this condition in exchange for a $150bn loan.

However, the claim was denied by Minister of Information Mohammed Idris, and Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, during a press conference in Abuja on Saturday.

Idris vowed to take legal action against the newspaper, threatening to file a lawsuit and also lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.