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$150bn Loan: Reactions Trail Signing Of Samoa Agreement

$150bn Loan: Reactions Trail Signing Of Samoa Agreement

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Summary : Amid criticisms, the federal government has defended its signing of 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 the one hand and the members of the OACPS on the other. Negotiations on the agreement started in 2018 on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly. It was signed in Apia, Samoa, on November 15, 2018, by all 27 EU Member states and 47 of the 79 OACPS Member states. The agreement has 103 articles comprising a common foundational compact and three regional protocols, namely: Africa-EU, Caribbean-EU, and Pacific-EU Regional Protocols with each regional protocol addressing the peculiar issues of the regions. Nigeria signed the Agreement on Friday, June 28, 2024. This was done after extensive reviews and consultations by the Inter-ministerial 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). It was scrutinised to ensure that none of the 103 Articles and Provisions of the Agreement contravenes the 1999 Constitution, as amended, or laws of Nigeria, and other extant Laws. A presidency source said it is necessary to assure Nigerians that the President Bola Tinubu Administration, being a rule-based government, will not enter into any international agreement that will be detrimental to the country’s and its citizens’ interests. “In negotiating the Agreement, our officials strictly followed the mandates exchanged in 2018 between the EU and the OACPS for the process. “The Samoa Agreement is a vital legal framework for cooperation between the OACPS and the European Union. Its goals are to promote sustainable development, fight climate change and its effects, generate investment opportunities, and foster collaboration among OACPS Member States at the international stage,” he said. But in a reaction yesterday, Hijrah Islamic Organisation and Ansarul-Islam Society of Nigeria condemned Nigeria’s signing of a same-sex agreement to collect a $150bn loan. The two Islamic bodies described the development as un-Islamic and a very bad development. They insisted that Islam forbids same-sex marriage. The leaders of the two bodies urged the members of the National Assembly to consider the development an impeachable offence and take the necessary action. The chairman of Hijrah Islamic Organisation and an Islamic Studies lecturer at the University of Ilorin, Prof Badmus Yusuf, said: “It is a very unfortunate development for the nation that is already swimming in the ocean of economic deterioration, insecurity, moral degradation and political aimlessness. The case of Sodom and Gomorrah should have remained a lesson for the country if our leaders were true to the claim of being Muslims and Christians. “The National Assembly should look at and consider the development as an impeachable offence and do what is needed. Religious leaders should speak out and call for God’s intervention in the affairs of this nation; enough is enough.” For his part, the public relations officer of the Ilorin branch of Ansarul-Islam Society of Nigeria, Imam Abubakar Aliy – Kamal said: “Same-sex is forbidden in Islam, and any country that practises is asking for the wrath of Almighty Allah, and the wrath of Almighty Allah will be upon them. “Instead of taking such a loan, I want to advise President Bola Tinubu to concentrate on agriculture and infrastructure development for the benefit of Nigerians.” Nigerians In Unison Will Resist FG’s Move – Afenifere Also, the national publicity secretary of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Comrade Jare Ajayi said that the seeming unanimous opposition by a majority of Nigerians to the alleged signing of the Agreement is in order as it clearly shows that Nigerians are opposed to what is against the natural order and the people’s value system. “Although a spokesman for the Minister of Budget Planning, Mr Adebiyi, said that the said Agreement does not contain anything like LGBT rights, it is fit and proper that Nigerians rise in unison to make it clear that such a practice would not be accepted in the country. With this clear position by Nigerians, those at the helm of affairs would think twice before plunging the country into such an Agreement.” Ajayi recalled that former President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2014, signed the Anti-Gay Bill into law, thus making it a criminal offence for anyone to engage in such acts. “To the best of our knowledge, the said Act has not been abrogated,” he submitted, adding that it is a good thing that the country’s Constitution requires the National Assembly to approve any Agreement from foreign sources before it becomes operational in Nigeria. “It is comforting to hear from the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Protocols, and Agreements, Hon. Rabiu Yusuf, that the said Samoa Agreement had not been brought before the National Assembly for consideration. It is strongly believed that if presented to them, the Agreement will not be approved by the lawmakers if it contains the offensive clauses,” the Afenifere spokesman said. The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has said it will review the agreement signed between the federal government and the Republic of Samoa before responding. PANDEF’s national publicity secretary, Ken Robinson, disclosed this while speaking with LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt. Focus On Good Governance, Not Controversial Agreement – CSOs On their part, the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have asked the government to focus on good governance. It was gathered that the $150 billion Samoa deal agreement reportedly has some clauses that compel underdeveloped and developing nations to support the agitations by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) communities. The CSOs who spoke to LEADERSHIP are the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC). Speaking through their leader, Awwal Musa Rafsanjani, the CSOs said the Nigerian government should focus on tackling national issues and not forcing Nigerians to do what they don’t want to. “The government should just prioritise good governance. The government should look at ways and means of tackling employment and insecurity. We know there is poverty in the country, and only good governance can end it, not signing controversial agreements,” Rafsanjani said. “The government should not impose bad behaviour on people. If this is going to affect the people who are to be the beneficiaries, then it should be looked at again. Every Nigerian has the right to believe in what he or she likes and the government should not impose it on the people,” Rafsanjani said. Anti-Gay Law Still In Place, Says NEF On its part, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said it would prefer not to comment on matters that are still at the level of speculation, adding that Nigeria is a country governed by laws, and some procedures must be followed before any significant changes can be implemented. In his reaction, the spokesperson of the forum Abdul-Azeez Suleiman said, “Indeed, Nigeria has a history of taking a strong stance against LGBT rights. In January 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law a Bill that criminaliszes same-sex relationships with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison for offenders. “This anti-gay law is still in effect in Nigeria, and it reflects the deeply ingrained societal attitudes towards homosexuality in the country. “While the global push for LGBT rights is still an issue, it cannot be forced upon countries that have different cultural and religious beliefs.” (LEADERSHIP)

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