[EXPLAINER] LGBTQ+: What do ‘Articles 2.5 and 29.5’ of Samoa Agreement say?

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SOME media reports have documented the reactions of clerics, civil society organisations (CSOs) and human rights activists condemning the signing of the Samoa Agreement by the Nigerian government saying it attempts to promote LGBTQ, transgenders among others.

The Samoa Agreement signed on 15 November 2023, is a framework agreement for cooperation between 27 countries of the European Union and 79 countries of the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS).

The agreement also has a trade component of $150 billion. Currently, 46 OACPS countries and 27 EU countries have signed it. For the agreement to be fully implemented, all 27 EU members must sign it.

The partnership agreement lays down common principles and covers the following priority areas: human rights, democracy and governance; peace and security; human and social development; inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development; environmental sustainability and climate change; migration and mobility.

Meanwhile, on Monday, July 1, the minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu confirmed the development at a reception organised by the European Union (EU) in Abuja.

report said that Bagudu’s media assistant, Bolaji Adebiyi, when contacted noted the documents signed by the federal government, which the minister of Budget referred to during the reception by the EU, were strictly for the economic development of Nigeria.

“He said nowhere in the documents were LGBT or same-sex marriage mentioned even remotely, and emphatically stating that it would be wrong for anyone to imply that Nigeria had accepted those tendencies,” the report noted.

The same report said the chairman, Human and Constitutional Rights Committee, African Bar Association (AfBA), Sonnie Ekwowusi,  noted that some articles of the Samoa Agreement promotes LGBTQ among others.  Ewowusi according to the report referenced Articles 2.5 and 29.5 of the agreement.

“The Samoa Agreement, named after the Pacific Island, Samoa, where it was signed on November 15, 2023 is a celebration of perversity. Certain Articles of the Agreement especially Articles 2.5 and 29.5 legalise LGBT, transgenderism, abortion, teen sexual abuse, and perversity 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.

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

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“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”, Ewowusi was quoted as saying.

What do the referenced articles say?

The two articles referenced have been used by many people when discussing the Samoa Agreement.

“Why most it be named “Samoa agreement” knowing fully well article 2.5 and 29.5 of the said legalized the LGBT?”, a X use Aminu with the username  @aminu_bala queried in reaction to an update from Nigeria’s minister of information.

What does the articles say? The ICIR obtained a copy of the Samoa Agreement that has been signed by multiple countries to check.

The articles in the agreement which is 172 pages [the 403 pages is the the draft copy] titled ‘Partnership Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, of the other part’ states:

Article 2.5:

The Parties shall systematically promote a gender perspective and ensure that gender equality is mainstreamed across all policies.”

Article 2 of Samoa agreement.
Article 2 of Samoa agreement.

Article  29.5:

“The Parties shall support universal access to sexual and reproductive health commodities and healthcare services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.”

Article 29 of Samoa agreement.
Article 29 of Samoa agreement.

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The ICIR went further to filter the documents with specific keywords like LGBTQ, homosexuals and transgenders to check if any part of the agreement referred to these words. The result came out negative.

The ICIR also compared the referenced articles in the signed document and the draft and they were the same.

Article 29 in the 403-page draft copy.
Article 29 in the 403-page draft copy.
Article 2 in the 403-page draft copy.
Article 2 in the 403-page draft copy.

More concerns 

Some other parts of the articles that raised concerns about promoting these rights are:

Article  9.2: “The Parties shall commit to the promotion of universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without discrimination based on any ground including sex, ethnic or social origin, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, disability, age, or other status. They commit to fighting all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and all forms of violence and discrimination, including all instances of advocacy of hatred. They commit to the recognition and advancement of the rights of Indigenous peoples, as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)”

Article 36.2: “The Parties commit to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action9 and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development10 and the outcomes of their review conferences and commit to sexual and reproductive health and rights, in that context.”

The chief executive officer of TAO Energy, Tobi Oluwatola, spoke to The ICIR saying, “There is no reference to LGBTQ in the document. We shouldn’t be looking for a reason to discriminate against a minority group where there is not one. I think Nigerians should respect the human rights of everyone”

Recall that in 2014, former President Jonathan signed into law a bill that criminalises same-sex relationships with penalties of up to 14 years in prison and bans gay marriage, same-sex ‘amorous relationships’ and membership of gay rights groups.

The ICIR has reported how in Nigeria, the discrimination against members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) community exposes them to attacks, abduction, and sometimes leaving them without adequate access to healthcare.

Kehinde Ogunyale

Kehinde Ogunyale tells stories by using data to hold power into account. You can send him a mail at [email protected] or Twitter: @Prof_KennyJames.

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