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Signing Samoa Agreement was for Nigeria’s best interest— FG

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Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, says the controversial Samoa Agreement recently signed by Nigeria was for the best interest of the country and its citizens.

The Samoa Agreement has generated so much outcry from Nigerians after it was claimed that it had some clauses that compelled underdeveloped and developing nations to support the agitations by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community for recognition as a condition for getting financial and other support from advanced societies.

The agreement, which is named after the Pacific Island of Samoa gwhere it was signed, has also faced opposition from religious bodies, with both the Christian and Muslim communities saying it would erode religious values in the country. Others say it will have a negative impact on the cultural values of Nigeria.

Following public anger, with many Nigerians calling for the country to withdraw from the agreement, Idris, in a statement on Thursday clarifying the issue, assured Nigerians that President Bola Tinubu would not enter into any international agreement that would be detrimental to the country’s interest.

In the statement, Idris admitted that Nigeria recently signed the Samoa Agreement at the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium, which is a partnership agreement between the EU and its member states, on one hand, and the members of the OACPS on the other.

Explaining the rationale behind Nigeria’s signing of the agreement, the Minister said:

“Nigeria’s endorsement was accompanied by a statement of declaration, dated 26th June 2024, clarifying its understanding and context of the agreement within its jurisdiction to the effect that any provision that is inconsistent with the laws of Nigeria shall be invalid.

“It is instructive to note that there is an existing legislation against the same sex relationship in Nigeria enacted in 2014.

“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 interest of the country and its citizens.

“In negotiating the agreement, our officials strictly followed the mandates exchanged in 2018 between the EU and the OACPS for the process.

“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.

“The African Regional Protocol consists of two parts. The first is the Framework for Cooperation, while the second deals with Areas of Cooperation, containing Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth and Development; Human and Social Development; Environment, Natural Resources Management, and Climate Change; Peace and Security; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance; and Migration and Mobility.

“Nigeria signed the Agreement on Friday, June 28, 2024. This was done after the 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).

“It was ensured that none of the 103 Articles and Provisions of the Agreement contravened the 1999 Constitution as amended or the laws of Nigeria and other extant Laws.

“The Samoa Agreement is nothing but a vital legal framework for cooperation between the OACPS and the European Union, 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 stated.

Metro

After resignation of Zambian Anti-Corruption Commission DG, Hichilema sacks entire board

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A day after the Director-General of the Zambian Anti-Corruption Commission, Thom Shamakamba, resigned from his position over allegations of corrupt practices in the agency, President Hakainde Hichilema ACC board with immediate effect.

The Zambian Presidency said Hichilema’s decision was based on Article 270 of the Constitution and Section 26 of the Interpretation and General Provisions Act Chapter 2 of the Laws of Zambia.

Chief Communications Specialist at State House, Clayson Hamasaka, who confirmed the decision of the President in a statement issued in Lusaka on Thursday said the sacking of the board was to renew the Commission’s mandate to fight corruption.

“The President’s decision is intended to renew the Anti-Corruption Commission’s mandate in spearheading the fight against corruption and to implement necessary reforms to ensure the continued effective operations of the Commission,” Hamasaka stated.

The presidential spokesman highlighted the President’s unwavering commitment to fighting corruption and maintaining a zero-tolerance policy towards any corrupt practices.

“President Hichilema thanks and wishes the outgoing Board of Commissioners well in their future endeavors,” he added.

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Metro

Statistics reveal over 600k Nigerians sought asylum abroad under ex-President Buhari

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A new report released by Statisense, a data collection organisation, has revealed that well over 600,000 Nigerians filed for asylum in other countries between 2016 and 2023, during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the report released on Wednesday, a total of 664,384 Nigerians sought asylum in eight years, with 355,792 persons applying for asylum in foreign countries between 2016 and 2019, while 308,592 sought asylum between 2020 and 2023.

“On a year-by-year basis, 66,862 sought asylum in 2016, 91,924 in 2017, 84,624 (2018), 112,382 (2019), 73,233 (2020), 83,105 (2021), 83,402 (2022), and 68,852 in 2023,” the report said.

“The figures indicate a surge from the past years, as Statisense noted that within 12 years – 2004 to 2015 – only 204,791 Nigerians filed for asylum in other countries.

“In total, 869,175 Nigerians filed for asylum in the last 20 years, notably from 2004 to 2023,” the report stated, citing the United Nations Refugee Agency.

“The organisation also stated that the Republic of Niger topped countries with the most Nigerian refugees in 2023 with about 200,497 Nigerians and a total of 1,268,464 Nigerian refugees between 2015 and 2023.

“Niger, a border country, shares proximity with Nigeria’s north, where residents battle a spate of insecurity in the region ranging from banditry, terrorism and herdsmen-farmers crisis,” it said.

“Nigerians topped the list of African countries who sought asylum in Canada in 2023 with about 10,111 asylum seekers followed by Kenya with 1,345.

“1,345 Nigerians however sought asylum in the United Kingdom and 5,136 in the United States of America,” the report added.

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