Toba Owojaiye reporting
Nigeria’s Presidency has confirmed its non-participation in the signing of the ‘Samoa Agreement,’ a significant pact shaping the relationship among African, Caribbean, and Pacific States, along with the European Union.
The agreement, intended to establish a legal framework for the next two decades, covers areas like sustainable development, human rights, and peace and security. Scheduled for November 15, the signing faced opposition from Nigerian civil society groups, asserting it promotes LGBTQ rights.
Truth Live News reports that several Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria criticized the agreement, claiming it could lead to the acceptance of LGBTQ rights if endorsed by governments. They argued that the pact seemed directed towards promoting homosexuality in the member countries.
In response, the Presidency, through an official statement, clarified that Nigeria did not sign the document, emphasizing its absence at the Samoa ceremony. The statement highlighted ongoing scrutiny by relevant Nigerian stakeholders to ensure the agreement aligns with domestic legislation.
It’s essential to note that Nigeria’s stance on LGBTQ rights has historical context. In 2014, then-President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill criminalizing same-sex relationships, facing resistance from Western governments advocating for LGBTQ rights.
This bill imposed severe penalties, including up to 14 years in prison, and prohibited gay marriage and membership in gay rights groups. The current administration under Buhari similarly refrained from signing the Samoa Agreement, citing strong cultural and religious considerations in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s decision not to participate in the Samoa Agreement signing stems from concerns raised by civil society groups, who fear the pact may inadvertently promote LGBTQ rights.
The Presidency clarified its position, asserting that Nigeria’s absence during the signing indicates non-endorsement, with a commitment to ensuring the agreement aligns with the country’s domestic legislation. This decision reflects Nigeria’s historical reluctance to embrace LGBTQ rights, as evidenced by previous legislative actions.