Home Community Insights Nigeria’s Signing of $150bn Samoa Deal with Alleged LGBTQ Clauses Ignites Controversy, Allegations of Economic Desperation

Nigeria’s Signing of $150bn Samoa Deal with Alleged LGBTQ Clauses Ignites Controversy, Allegations of Economic Desperation

Nigeria’s Signing of $150bn Samoa Deal with Alleged LGBTQ Clauses Ignites Controversy, Allegations of Economic Desperation

The recent decision by Nigeria’s federal government to sign the $150 billion Samoa Deal has ignited a firestorm of controversy, primarily due to claims that the agreement includes clauses mandating support for LGBTQ rights.

According to Daily Trust, the deal, signed on November 15, 2023, in Samoa, ostensibly requires underdeveloped and developing nations to uphold LGBTQ rights as a condition for receiving financial aid and other support from advanced countries.

On July 1, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Nigeria’s Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, confirmed the ratification of the agreement during a European Union (EU) reception in Abuja. However, the statement quickly sparked backlash. Bagudu’s media assistant, Bolaji Adebiyi, sought to calm the uproar by clarifying that the documents Bagudu referenced pertained strictly to economic development and did not mention LGBTQ or same-sex marriage.

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Adebiyi maintained that the minister signed an agreement focused on a $150 billion trade component, not LGBT issues.

Despite these assurances, the agreement has met with fierce resistance from various Nigerian groups. Sonnie Ekwowusi, a Lagos-based lawyer and chairman of the Human and Constitutional Rights Committee of the African Bar Association (AfBA), criticized the signing in a scathing article.

Ekwowusi described the Samoa Agreement as “nauseating” and a significant threat to Nigeria’s sovereignty, alleging that Articles 2.5 and 29.5 of the agreement legalize LGBT rights, transgenderism, abortion, and teen sexual abuse in African countries.

“The signing of the Agreement by Nigeria constitutes a threat to the sovereignty of Nigeria and Africa. It further debases our democracy,” he said.

Ekwowusi further questioned the competence of Nigerian officials, suggesting they may not have fully understood the implications of the agreement.

“I can wager that neither Minister Atiku Bagudu nor the Nigerian officials or diplomats who signed the Samoa Agreement on our behalf, understand the import of the agreement to Nigeria’s sovereignty, let alone the destructive impact of the Agreement in Nigeria,” he said.

“Not infrequently, Nigerian officials in Geneva, New York, and other places sign international agreements or treaties over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with little or no knowledge of their contents.”

He noted that Nigeria, along with 34 other African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries, had initially refused to sign the agreement on November 15, 2023, frustrating the EU, which subsequently issued a threat on November 24, 2023.

“This explains why many African bodies including the AfBA have condemned the agreement and respectfully urged African countries not to sign it,” he said.

Ekwowusi called for Nigeria to withdraw from the Samoa Agreement immediately and urged the National Assembly to summon the officials who signed it to explain their actions.

Religious and Political Backlash

Following this development, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) reiterated its unwavering stance against same-sex marriage and LGBT issues. Abubakar Akande, the administrative secretary of NSCIA, said the council would not welcome any agreement that goes against Islamic teachings and disrespects Nigeria’s sovereignty.

Similarly, Abdulrazaq Ajani, the leader of the Abuja Muslim Forum (AMF), reported that African CSOs, including AMF, had met with top government officials and members of both chambers of the National Assembly to unequivocally reject the proposed agreement.

Rabiu Yusuf, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Protocols, and Agreements, stated that the Samoa Agreement had not been brought before the National Assembly for consideration.

Economic Desperation Amidst Dwindling Oil Revenue

Critics argue that the Tinubu administration’s decision to sign the Samoa Agreement, despite its controversial LGBTQ connotations, underscores the government’s desperation to secure loans amid dwindling oil revenue.

Many have reminded the present government that former President Goodluck Jonathan, in January 2014, signed a bill criminalizing same-sex relationships, defying Western pressure and provoking criticism from the United States. The law, which bans gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships,” and membership in gay rights groups, includes penalties of up to 14 years in prison.

The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has also weighed in, describing the ratification of the Samoa Agreement as a betrayal of Nigerian values and trust. The PRP’s acting National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Muhammed Ishaq, expressed shock and outrage, demanding the government withdraw from the agreement immediately.

“This treacherous move is a betrayal of the Nigerian people’s trust and values, and we demand that the government immediately withdraw from this agreement,” he said.

The government’s decision to sign an agreement that is perceived to compromise national values and sovereignty has called into question, its commitment to preserving Nigeria’s cultural and moral fabric.

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