HeadlineSAMOA Agreement: NBA Clarifies Nigeria’s Stance On LGBTQ Rights

SAMOA Agreement: NBA Clarifies Nigeria’s Stance On LGBTQ Rights

July 09, (THEWILL) – The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has clarified that Nigeria does not recognise same-sex marriage amidst controversies surrounding the SAMOA agreement.
Nigeria, on June 28, 2024, signed the Samoa Agreement at the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium. The partnership agreement is between the EU and its Member States, on one hand, and the members of the OACPS on the other.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday, directed the Federal Government to suspend the implementation of the Samoa Agreement until all controversial clauses, especially those relating to LGBTQ rights, are addressed.
However, NBA President Yakubu Maikyau emphasised that the agreement does not compel Nigeria to accept LGBTQ rights as a condition for its benefits.
In a statement, Maikyau said, “The agreement respects the local laws and sovereignty of the contracting nations, including Nigeria’s Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2023, and the supremacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”
The NBA stressed that if the agreement had mandated Nigeria to recognise LGBTQ rights, it would have advised the Federal Government against any partnership that could compromise the country’s sovereignty.
“To be clear, the SAMOA agreement does not seek to undermine our existing legislation or the sovereignty of Nigeria”, the NBA asserted.
Before signing the SAMOA agreement, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning requested the NBA to review it. Consequently, Maikyau formed a committee led by Olawale Fapohunda, SAN, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Ekiti State, to evaluate and advise on the agreement.
The SAMOA Agreement, named after the country of Samoa where it was signed, is a comprehensive legal framework between the European Union (EU), member states and more than half of the 79 members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS). It encompasses six main areas: democracy and human rights, sustainable economic growth and development, climate change, human and social development, peace and security, and migration and mobility. It serves as a basis for specific agreements between the EU and the Federal Government, its sub-nationals, or the private sector.
Although Nigeria has signed the Samoa Agreement, which includes commitments to human rights, THEWILL notes that Nigeria’s laws still criminalise same-sex relationships and activities, with penalties including up to 14 years imprisonment. Also, Nigerian cultural and religious beliefs largely oppose LGBT rights.
The NBA, however, asked the Federal Government to continue public enlightenment efforts and urged other stakeholders to help counter negative perceptions about the agreement.
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