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NBA Vetted SAMOA Agreement, LGBTQ Claim Is A Lie – President

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The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, has addressed public concerns and misconceptions surrounding the SAMOA Agreement, emphasising its compliance with Nigeria’s laws and sovereignty.

The president of the country’s foremost lawyers’ association spoke through a statement issued on Monday.

The agreement, named after Samoa where it was signed, serves as a broad legal framework between the European Union (EU) and more than half of the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), covering significant areas including democracy, economic growth, climate change, and human rights.

In response to misinformation circulating in newspapers and social media, particularly regarding claims that the agreement would force Nigeria to embrace LGBTQ rights, Maikyau clarified that the SAMOA Agreement imposed no obligation on Nigeria to endorse or recognize such rights as a condition for accessing a purported loan of $150 billion USD.

He said that the agreement explicitly respects Nigeria’s existing legislation, including the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act of 2023 and the supremacy of the Nigerian Constitution.

He also said the NBA played a role in vetting the agreement before it was inked and in advising against any agreements that could undermine Nigeria’s sovereignty.

He said, “Prior to the signing of the SAMOA agreement, the Hon. Minister of Budget and Economic Planning requested the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), as a major stakeholder in the polity, to look at the agreement.

“Consequently, I constituted a committee chaired by Mr. Olawale Fapohunda, SAN, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ekiti State and Chairman of the NBA Law Reform Committee, to vet, evaluate and advise on the agreement accordingly.

“The SAMOA Agreement…is meant to serve as a basis upon which subsequent specific agreements can be negotiated between the European Union and the Federal Government, its sub-nationals and/or the Private sector.”

The NBA president said it was regrettable that certain narratives had misled the public either due to ignorance of the agreement’s contents or deliberate intent.

Maikyau said, “My attention was drawn to publications in newspapers and social media platforms, to reactions by some Nigerians to the signing of the SAMOA Agreement by the Federal Government; the alleged clauses in the agreement requiring Nigeria to endorse or accept LGBTQ rights, as a pre-condition to access an alleged loan facility to the tune of $150, 000, 000, 000.00 (One Hundred and Fifty Billion USD), only.

“Contrary to the narrative being propagated either due to ignorance of the content of the agreement or, a deliberate intention to mislead the public (neither of which is good), I wish to state that there is no provision in the SAMOA agreement which requires Nigeria to accept or in any way recognise LGBTQ or gay rights, either as a pre-condition for a loan of $150 Billion USD or at all.

“Instead, the agreement was expressly made subject to the local laws and the sovereignty of the contracting Nations. That is to say, the SAMOA agreement recognises, for instance, Nigeria’s Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2023 and of course, the Supremacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“If this were not the case, the NBA would have since advised the Federal Government not to enter or engage in any form of partnership or agreement that has the ability to undermine the sovereignty of our nation in any way. For the avoidance of any doubt, the SAMOA agreement does not, in any way, seek to compromise our existing legislations nor undermine the sovereignty of Nigeria.”

He called for accurate education and awareness among stakeholders to counter negative perceptions and ensure understanding of the agreement’s true objectives.

Maikyau urged the government to continue its public enlightenment efforts and called upon all stakeholders to participate in educating the public about the SAMOA Agreement’s provisions.

He said, “It is important for all stakeholders, who have had the opportunity of engaging with the government on this agreement prior to its execution, and others who have read and understood the objective of the agreement to endeavour to educate the public on its true content.

“The negative narratives on this agreement are being pushed and propagated along very sensitive lines of our faith, culture and morality, thus the need for caution and proper education.

“I, therefore, call on the government to continue with the public enlightenment already being undertaken and for other stakeholders to join in doing so, in order to counter the negative perception being promoted on the agreement.

“The public must, at all times, query newspaper and social media posts. Information in newspapers and social media platforms, should at the very best, put us on an enquiry – check facts to determine the veracity of information.”

He emphasised the importance of critical engagement with information shared via newspapers and social media, quoting August Ludwig von Schlözer to caution against unquestioned belief in social networking content.

“The NBA remains steadfast in ensuring government actions prioritize the people’s interests and uphold Nigeria’s integrity,” Maikyau affirmed, pledging continued engagement with the government to provide counsel, direction, and accountability on behalf of the Nigerian populace.

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