NBA denounces misconceptions about SAMOA agreement

In response to recent public concerns and misinformation regarding the SAMOA Agreement, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN, has issued a clarifying statement.

The SAMOA Agreement, signed between the European Union (EU) member states and over half of the members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), including Nigeria, aims to establish a comprehensive legal framework for future negotiations.

Prior to the signing, Nigeria’s Minister of Budget and Economic Planning engaged the NBA to review the agreement due to its significant implications for the nation. Mr. Maikyau formed a committee led by Mr. Olawale Fapohunda, SAN, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Ekiti State, to assess the agreement’s content and provide informed recommendations.

The SAMOA Agreement, named after Samoa in the South Pacific Ocean where it was signed, addresses six key areas: democracy and human rights, sustainable economic growth and development, climate change, human and social development, peace and security, and migration and mobility.

It sets the stage for subsequent specific agreements between the EU, Nigeria’s federal and sub-national governments, and the private sector.

Recall that recent publications and social media posts have sparked controversy by suggesting that the SAMOA Agreement includes clauses requiring Nigeria to endorse LGBTQ rights as a condition for accessing a purported $150 billion loan.

However, in a statement issued on Monday, Maikyau refuted the claims, stating unequivocally that there are no provisions in the agreement mandating Nigeria to recognize LGBTQ rights in exchange for financial aid.

He emphasized that the agreement respects the sovereignty and local laws of the contracting nations, including Nigeria’s Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act of 2023 and the Nigerian Constitution.

Maikyau stressed that any narrative suggesting otherwise stems from either ignorance or a deliberate attempt to mislead the public.

While urgimg stakeholders and the public to seek accurate information and engage in proper education about the agreement’s true content, he noted that misleading narratives, particularly those playing on sensitive cultural, religious, and moral grounds, must be countered with factual enlightenment.

The NBA President called on the government to continue its public enlightenment efforts and encouraged other stakeholders to participate actively in educating the public.

He highlighted the importance of critically assessing information from newspapers and social media, quoting the German historian August Ludwig von Schlözer: “Foolish is the man who never reads a newspaper; even more foolish is the man who believes what he reads just because it is in the newspaper.”

“In today’s context, this wisdom extends to social media platforms,” he said.

In conclusion, Mr. Maikyau reaffirmed the NBA’s commitment to ensuring that government actions remain people-focused and do not compromise Nigeria’s sovereignty.

He added that the NBA will continue to engage with the government, providing guidance, advocating for national interests, and holding the government accountable on behalf of the Nigerian people.

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