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End it Now: Reps Ask FG to Suspend Samoa Agreement

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The Nigerian House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to halt the implementation of the Samoa Agreement pending further clarification and resolution of contentious clauses, following uproar over its perceived endorsement of gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights.

The motion for the suspension of the agreement was brought forward in an emergency session on Tuesday by Representative Aliyu Madaki, supported by 88 members of the House.

Madaki raised concerns about clauses within the agreement, particularly highlighting “gender equality” as potentially conflicting with Nigerian moral values.

The House resolution mandates relevant committees to conduct a thorough investigation into the contentious provisions of the agreement, signalling a decisive response to public outcry and online criticism.

The Samoa Agreement, signed last November in Apia, Samoa, marks a new legal framework between the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).

It aims to address global challenges such as climate change, migration, and economic development.

Controversy erupted when details of the agreement, including references to gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights, surfaced publicly this week.

Many Nigerians expressed strong opposition, citing the country’s existing laws prohibiting same-sex marriages and gay relationships enacted in 2014 under President Goodluck Jonathan.

The controversy escalated with the government vehemently denying the existence of such an agreement and accusing the newspaper of spreading false information that could incite unrest.

At a press conference held at the National Press Centre, Abuja, on Saturday, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, and Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, assured the public that Nigeria would not enter into any agreement that undermines constitutional provisions or challenges the religious and cultural sensitivities of its diverse population.

Bagudu emphasised that Nigeria’s participation in the Samoa Agreement was primarily to bolster food security, promote inclusive economic development, and address critical global issues aligned with national interests.

The House’s call for suspension underscores the need for clarity and alignment with national laws and values, reflecting a commitment to safeguarding Nigeria’s sovereignty and cultural integrity amidst international agreements.

The information minister reaffirmed the government’s stance on fostering an open and democratic society, emphasising President Tinubu’s lifelong dedication to democracy and human rights.

He acknowledged the media’s role as a watchdog and assured the public of the administration’s tolerance towards criticism and commitment to protecting freedom of expression.

He said, “The Federal Government under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has maintained an open arm relationship with the media. It is in line with the philosophy of the President as an avowed democrat who spent a lifetime fighting for the entrenchment of democracy and human rights.

“This administration has remained very tolerant of media criticism and guaranteed citizens’ rights to freedom of expression. It is, however, disheartening that some elements are abusing this free environment guaranteed by the Government. We are alarmed by the level of reckless reporting and statements by some media organisations and individuals that border on national security and stability.

“While we sometimes view and treat that occasional reporting as part of media’s normal work, we have now seen a pattern that is difficult to be wished away as normal journalism.”

However, he slammed Daily Trust, the newspaper that published the story that set off the controversy, for false publishing.

He said, “Then just two weeks ago, Daily Trust concocted and popularised a lie that the Federal Government had renamed the Murtala Mohammed Expressway in Abuja to Wole Soyinka Way.

“In all those instances all that the paper depended on were falsehood and hearsay. They also showed no remorse or the humility to recant.

“We however did not envisage that Daily Trust and the people behind it could descend to the reckless level of attempting to set the country on fire by falsely accusing the government of signing a deal to promote LGBTQ.

“We found that despicable and wicked because the allegation is nowhere in the document signed. Surprisingly, the paper put forward no evidence nor provided the agreement allegedly signed to prove their point.”

Idris also announced that the Federal Government would lodge a formal complaint with the NPAN Ombudsman and pursue legal action against the Daily Trust.

End it Now: Reps Ask FG to Suspend Samoa Agreement

The Nigerian House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to halt the implementation of the Samoa Agreement pending further clarification and resolution of contentious clauses, following uproar over its perceived endorsement of gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights.

The motion for the suspension of the agreement was brought forward in an emergency session on Tuesday by Representative Aliyu Madaki, supported by 88 members of the House.

Madaki raised concerns about clauses within the agreement, particularly highlighting “gender equality” as potentially conflicting with Nigerian moral values.

The House resolution mandates relevant committees to conduct a thorough investigation into the contentious provisions of the agreement, signalling a decisive response to public outcry and online criticism.

The Samoa Agreement, signed last November in Apia, Samoa, marks a new legal framework between the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).

It aims to address global challenges such as climate change, migration, and economic development.

Controversy erupted when details of the agreement, including references to gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights, surfaced publicly this week.

Many Nigerians expressed strong opposition, citing the country’s existing laws prohibiting same-sex marriages and gay relationships enacted in 2014 under President Goodluck Jonathan.

The controversy escalated with the government vehemently denying the existence of such an agreement and accusing the newspaper of spreading false information that could incite unrest.

At a press conference held at the National Press Centre, Abuja, on Saturday, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, and Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, assured the public that Nigeria would not enter into any agreement that undermines constitutional provisions or challenges the religious and cultural sensitivities of its diverse population.

Bagudu emphasised that Nigeria’s participation in the Samoa Agreement was primarily to bolster food security, promote inclusive economic development, and address critical global issues aligned with national interests.

The House’s call for suspension underscores the need for clarity and alignment with national laws and values, reflecting a commitment to safeguarding Nigeria’s sovereignty and cultural integrity amidst international agreements.

The information minister reaffirmed the government’s stance on fostering an open and democratic society, emphasising President Tinubu’s lifelong dedication to democracy and human rights.

He acknowledged the media’s role as a watchdog and assured the public of the administration’s tolerance towards criticism and commitment to protecting freedom of expression.

He said, “The Federal Government under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has maintained an open arm relationship with the media. It is in line with the philosophy of the President as an avowed democrat who spent a lifetime fighting for the entrenchment of democracy and human rights.

“This administration has remained very tolerant of media criticism and guaranteed citizens’ rights to freedom of expression. It is, however, disheartening that some elements are abusing this free environment guaranteed by the Government. We are alarmed by the level of reckless reporting and statements by some media organisations and individuals that border on national security and stability.

“While we sometimes view and treat that occasional reporting as part of media’s normal work, we have now seen a pattern that is difficult to be wished away as normal journalism.”

However, he slammed Daily Trust, the newspaper that published the story that set off the controversy, for false publishing.

He said, “Then just two weeks ago, Daily Trust concocted and popularised a lie that the Federal Government had renamed the Murtala Mohammed Expressway in Abuja to Wole Soyinka Way.

“In all those instances all that the paper depended on were falsehood and hearsay. They also showed no remorse or the humility to recant.

“We however did not envisage that Daily Trust and the people behind it could descend to the reckless level of attempting to set the country on fire by falsely accusing the government of signing a deal to promote LGBTQ.

“We found that despicable and wicked because the allegation is nowhere in the document signed. Surprisingly, the paper put forward no evidence nor provided the agreement allegedly signed to prove their point.”

Idris also announced that the Federal Government would lodge a formal complaint with the NPAN Ombudsman and pursue legal action against the Daily Trust.

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