FACT-CHECK: Are there LGBT clauses in Samoa Agreement Nigeria signed?

n Thursday, Daily Trust reported concerns by sections of the Nigerian religious and civil society communities over clauses that mandate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights in the $150 billion Samoa Agreement signed by the Nigerian government on 28 June.

The newspaper’s report premised on an opinion article by Sonnie Ekwowusi, a Lagos-based lawyer, was amplified by other news platforms such as BusinessDay, Vanguard and TheCable.

The reports attracted a backlash against the federal government as critics criticised the government for downgrading the country’s moral values in exchange for Western loans.

However, the Nigerian government, in a statement issued by Mohammed Idris, the minister of information and national orientation, on Thursday evening, said the agreement was signed after “extensive reviews and consultations by the Interministerial Committee, 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).”

Mr Idris added that the government ensured that “None of the 103 Articles and Provisions of the Agreement contravenes the 1999 Constitution as amended or the laws of Nigeria and other extant Laws.”

The Nigerian government signed the agreement seven months after it was formally signed in Samoa.

The government said it delayed its consent to allow it to carry out a thorough review and ensure no clause in the agreement contravenes Nigerian laws.

“The general public is invited to note that Nigeria was not represented at the Signing Ceremony, which took place in Samoa on Wednesday, 15th November 2023 and hence has not signed the Agreement,” Francisca Omay, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said last year.

“Relevant Nigerian stakeholders are currently studying the instrument to ensure that its provisions do not contravene Nigeria’s domestic legislation,” she added.

In a document seen by PREMIUM TIMES, the Nigerian government made declarations against 13 articles in the signed agreement.

For instance, the Nigerian government, in its declaration concerning Article 9.2, which borders on Human rights, democracy and the rule of law, noted that the Nigerian Constitution has provisions on human rights.

This includes the “prohibition of discrimination in any form and further includes the grounds upon which the National Assembly has and may enact legislations for the advancement of persons within Nigeria who have been politically, socially, economically and educationally disadvantaged by past discriminately laws or practices. This position is also consistent with various United Nations Conventions on Human Rights and discrimination to which Nigeria is a party.”

Other declarations made by the Nigerian government are Article 1 (Objectives), Article 3 (Partnership Dialogue), Article 4 (Policy Coherence), and Article 79 (Cooperation in International Organisations and Forums).

In addition to this, the government also made declarations about Article 19 (Serious crimes of concern to the international community); Article 36 (Gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment); Article 49 (Trade and sustainable development); Article 51 (Trade in services) and Article 97 (Other agreements and arrangements).

Others include Article 101 (Disputes settlement and fulfilment of obligations), Article 22 (Services), Article 40 (Gender equality and empowerment of women), Article 51 (Climate action), and Article 3 (Foreign exchange).

Verifying the claim

PREMIUM TIMES reviewed the 172-page document to find out whether it contains LGBT clauses as claimed by Daily Trust and other newspapers.

Mr Ekwowusi, whose opinion article formed the basis of the newspaper’s report, claimed some articles of the agreement systematically legalise LGBT.

Source : The Premium Times

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