Samoa agreement signed in Nigeria’s interest – FG

By Kunle Sanni

The federal government has clarified that its recent endorsement of the Samoa Agreement at the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium was made in good faith and with the nation’s best interests at heart.

In a statement on Thursday, Minister of Information and National Orientation Mohammed Idris explained that the agreement was signed the previous Friday following extensive reviews and consultations by an Interministerial Committee.

This committee was convened by the Federal Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning (FMBEP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Federal Ministry of Justice (FMOJ).

The Samoa Agreement, a partnership between the EU and its Member States on one side, and the members of the OACPS on the other, was signed by Nigeria at the OACPS Secretariat.

Negotiations began in 2018 during the 73rd United Nations General Assembly and the agreement was initially signed in Apia, Samoa on November 15, 2018, by all 27 EU Member States and 47 of the 79 OACPS Member States.

The agreement comprises 103 articles, including a common foundational compact and three regional protocols addressing the unique issues of the Africa-EU, Caribbean-EU, and Pacific-EU regions.

Minister Idris addressed the recent controversy surrounding the signing, which sparked significant social media backlash, with Nigerians accusing the government of endorsing LGBTQ rights, which are illegal in the country.

However, Idris emphasized that the agreement does not contravene the 1999 Constitution, as amended, or any other Nigerian laws.

“In addition, Nigeria’s endorsement was accompanied by a Statement of Declaration, dated June 26, 2024, clarifying that any provision inconsistent with Nigerian laws shall be invalid.

“It is important to note that there is existing legislation against same-sex relationships in Nigeria, enacted in 2014,” Idris stated.

He assured Nigerians that President Bola Tinubu’s administration, being a rule-based government, would not enter into any international agreement detrimental to the country’s interests.

The officials involved in the negotiations strictly adhered to the mandates exchanged in 2018 between the EU and the OACPS.

“The Samoa Agreement is a vital legal framework for cooperation between the OACPS and the European Union, aimed at promoting sustainable development, combating climate change, generating investment opportunities, and fostering collaboration among OACPS Member States on the international stage,” Idris concluded.

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