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Nigerian Parliament Investigates Samoa Agreement Over Clauses

THE Nigerian parliament has called for an investigation into the Samoa Agreement, a pact signed with the European Union, after media reports suggested some clauses could promote same-sex relationships. Nigerian authorities have denied these claims and threatened legal action against the media outlets reporting them. Lawmakers, who were not consulted before the agreement was signed, voted to investigate its clauses, particularly those related to gender rights.

Critics, including House of Representatives member Aliyu Madaki, argue that terms like ‘gender equality’ could be misinterpreted to include homosexuality and other non-traditional gender identities. Madaki stated, ‘The phrase “gender equality” is a Trojan horse for deceptively bringing in all sorts of immorality to our country, as gender no longer means sexes male and female as traditionally understood. It now includes homosexuality, lesbianism, transgenderism, and animalism.’

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The agreement, which Nigeria signed along with the EU and 79 other countries on June 28, aims to promote democratic norms, human rights, economic growth, and development. It also addresses global challenges such as climate change, migration, and security. Authorities assert that the deal underwent extensive reviews and consultations before being signed.

Following a report by the Daily Trust newspaper, which raised concerns about the agreement’s gender rights clause, Nigerian authorities held a media briefing to debunk the claims and announced plans to sue the newspaper. Information Minister Mohammed Idris Malagi criticised the media for what he termed reckless reporting that threatens national security and stability. He said, ‘We are alarmed by the level of reckless reporting and statements by some media organisations and individuals that border on national security and stability. We find that despicable and wicked because the allegation is nowhere in the document signed on behalf of the federal government.’

Nigeria has banned same-sex relationships since 2014, imposing a 14-year jail term for offenders. The Nigerian Bar Association supported the government’s stance after reviewing the agreement. However, Sonnie Ekwokusi, chair of the Human Rights Committee at the African Bar Association, backed concerns raised by critics, noting, ‘This Samoa agreement is littered with the phrases of the EU and United Nations. I know the language of the EU. I know what they’re talking about.’

Daily Trust defended its reporting as being in the public interest and stated it would apologize only if proven wrong about the gender rights clause’s interpretation.

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