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House of Reps Denies Calling For Suspension Of Samoa Agreement

 

THE House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the controversial clauses allegedly contained in the recently signed Samoa Partnership Agreement to ensure they sufficiently align with constitutional provisions, extant laws, and the country’s national interests and values.

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The House also urged the government to ensure thorough consultations and stakeholder engagement on the issue.

These decisions followed the adoption of a Motion of Urgent National Importance, entitled: “Alleged Controversial Samoa Partnership Agreement by the Federal Government,” sponsored by House Deputy Minority Leader, Aliyu Sani Madaki (NNPP, Kano), and co-sponsored by 88 lawmakers.

The motion, which debated the Samoa Partnership Agreement, aimed at enhancing food security and promoting inclusive economic development, sparked significant discussion in the Green Chamber upon its introduction.

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.

Madaki 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 $150 billion 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.

In a statement made available to the media on Tuesday, the House said it did not call for the suspension of the agreement or its implementation.

The statement, signed by the House Spokesperson/Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Akin Rotimi, said: “It is important to clarify that the House of Representatives did not resolve to call for the suspension of the agreement nor for 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.”

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