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Samoa Agreement: FG’s position on Daily Trust

Remarks by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, held on Saturday, July 6, 2024, at the National Press Centre, Abuja.   The…

Remarks by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, held on Saturday, July 6, 2024, at the National Press Centre, Abuja.


The federal government under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has maintained an open arm relationship with the media. It is in line with the philosophy of the president as an avowed democrat who spent a lifetime fighting for the entrenchment of democracy and human rights.

This administration has remained very tolerant of media criticism (and will continue to do so. And, of course, the administration will also continue to) guarantee citizens’ rights to freedom of expression (and the need for them to know the workings of government).

It is, however, disheartening that some elements are abusing this free environment guaranteed by the government. We are alarmed by the level of reckless reporting and statements by some media organisations and individuals that border on national security and stability.

While we sometimes view and treat those occasional reports as part of media’s normal work, we have now seen a pattern that is difficult to be wished away as normal journalism.

The insidious and inciting publications by the Daily Trust newspapers these past months have come across as nothing but a deliberate effort to brush the government with a tar.

On many occasions we have restrained ourselves from believing that this was indeed the case, but the consistency of the mischievous publications (by the Media Trust newspaper) leaves us with no option (than to believe so.)

In the aftermath of the coup in Niger Republic, Daily Trust championed a jaundiced narrative that the federal government was driving the country into war and twisted it with regional sentiment to cause disaffection (amongst our people).

The same newspaper gave a banner headline to a baseless accusation that the government was working on citing foreign military bases in the country. Neither Daily Trust nor the originators of that imaginative allegation provided any shred of evidence (to prove its point).

special adviser to the president on information and strategy bayo onanuga
special adviser to the president on information and strategy bayo onanuga

Two weeks ago, Daily Trust (also) concocted and popularised a lie that the federal government had renamed the Murtala Muhammed Expressway in Abuja to Wole Soyinka Way.

In all those instances, all that the paper depended on were falsehood and hearsays. They also showed no remorse or the humility to recant (their story).

We, however, did not envisage that Daily Trust and people behind it could descend to the reckless level of attempting to set the country on fire by falsely accusing the government of signing a deal to promote LGBTQ.

We found that despicable and wicked because the allegation is nowhere in the document signed (on behalf of the federal government).

Surprisingly, the paper put forward no evidence nor provided the agreement allegedly signed to prove their point.

The baseless and sensational story unfortunately formed a basis for Khutba (sermons) by some of our respected imams who were misled by the story thereby raising tempers (around the country).

On the part of the government, we continue on the honourable path of civility by restraining ourselves from taking self-help or draconian measures (as we have seen in this country in the past).

While past governments (have attempted or indeed have) clamped down on the media for infractions much lower than this, we (have decided) are, however, toeing the path of civility and the rule of law.

This country is governed by laws and it is a democratic nation and the government is desirous of keeping it so.

This afternoon, I have the Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning (who indeed is at the centre of this story) to provide more clarity on this issue.

But beyond this, the federal government (has decided) to lodge a formal complaint to the NPAN (Newspapers Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria) ombudsman on this irresponsible reporting. In addition, the federal government will use every lawful means to seek redress in the court of law.

The federal government once again (wishes to) restates its friendly policy towards ethical media and free speech. We (government) would, however, not take fake news and disinformation (lightly, and in fact, will go a long way to ensure) that would injure the peace (and stability is maintained) of our country and its national security lightly.

The reporting by Daily Trust should form a basis for all others to understand what fake news, misinformation or disinformation is. And let me reiterate that this is by no means an attempt by the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to gag the Nigerian press.

I have said it several times here and elsewhere that the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will continue to ensure that there is freedom of expression and that the press will have a free environment to practice what we believe is necessary for the continuous enthronement of democracy in our land.

However, as I have said earlier, fake news, misinformation, disinformation and any attempts to incite the Nigerian public against a legitimate government would not be tolerated because we believe that, that cannot be called responsible journalism.

I will, therefore, wish to call on the Nigerian media to continue to show respect for our constitution, respect to all that we require for democracy to continue to thrive in this country.

But let me say once again for reasons of emphasis that the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not in any way, form or shape, do anything that would scuttle the freedom of expression in Nigeria.

It is in that spirit that we have the Honourable Minister of Budget and Economic Planning to provide details of what is contained in the agreement that was signed on behalf of the federal government. And not to only do that, to also give the Nigerian media the copy of the actual agreement that was signed by the federal government.

This, we believe, will give members of Nigerian media the opportunity to go through, line by line, clause by clause, to see what the Nigerian government has signed on its behalf.

But let me say for reasons of emphasis, that the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not in any way sign anything that goes against our constitution, our laws, our culture and our various faiths. Whatever has been done is in the interest of this country.

Let me at this juncture invite the Honourable Minister of Budget and Economic Planning to make some comments as regards what was signed and then thereafter take questions if there are any from the media.

We once again thank you for your support and cooperation.




The Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, by its mandate, is responsible for bilateral economic cooperation, regional economic cooperation, registration of development partners, non-governmental organisations and international non-governmental organisations. It works closely with all other ministries.

This function came about because the ministry started out as a national planning commission just like other federal, states and the management of bilateral economic relationship derives from the national planning mandate which defines what we want to achieve, who we want to relate with to achieve that, and understandably the function resides in the budget and planning function.

Having said that, and because time is of essence, I would particularly address the issue that has been in the media, especially in the last 72 hours, in relation to an agreement called Samoa Agreement which also has different names, Post-Cotonou Agreement, and the more proper formal name, which is Partnership Agreement, between the European Union and its member states on the one part and members of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States on the other part. So, if we have a Post-Cotonou agreement or a five-nation agreement that I have just read called Samoa Agreement, meaning the same.

It’s called the Samoa Agreement because the EU and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries met in Samoa, which is a country in the Pacific, last year, October, with the intention of signing that agreement. The EU members, 37 of them, signed that agreement there and in Samoa; a number of other countries signed.

Nigeria was not in attendance, not because we are disputing the agreement, but because the government was just settling down and we knew that we had time to deal with it.

  1. Background

The partnership between Nigeria and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) dates back to the Georgetown Agreement of 1975 which brought together countries in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific for the establishment of a framework for trade and development cooperation with the European Union (EU) as one of its (main) objectives. (The Georgetown Agreement, which is also described by some as…agreement, is the first relationship agreement between this organisation of countries with which Nigeria belongs to and the European Union as a body).

  1. (After the Georgetown Agreement in 2000) The OACPS (entered into an agreement with the) EU (which is called the) Cotonou Agreement (which also provides a range of areas of relationship from which Nigeria has benefited about) facilitated the commitment of about N1.7 billion in grant aid alone to Nigeria (which is) through the 9th, 10th and 11th European Development Fund (EDF) during the period from 2000 to 2020.

A recent survey shows that over 5,000 water, sanitation, energy, education, health and other micro project interventions were executed in about 4,800 communities in Nigeria over the course of the (Cotonou) agreement.

  1. (In 2018, in anticipation of the expiration of the Cotonou Agreement the European Union and) The OACPS in 2018 launched the processes for negotiation of a successor partnership agreement ahead of the expiration of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020.

At its 107th session in Lome, Togo, the OACPS Council of Ministers adopted a negotiated mandate and appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Togo, Prof. Robert Dussey, as the chair of the OACPS Central Negotiating Group (CNG).

Key objectives and priorities in the negotiation

  1. In launching the process for formal negotiations on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the essence of the new partnership was to contribute to the attainment of sustainable development in all OACPS countries through strengthened and deepened political and economic partnership, with the OACPS as a more effective global player. The following thematic areas constituted the pillars for the negotiation:
  2. Human rights, democracy and governance in people-centred and rights-based societies;
  3. Peace and security;

iii. Human and social development;

  1. Environmental sustainability and climate change;
  2. Inclusive sustainable economic growth and development; and
  3. Migration and mobility.
  4. Technical negotiation of the new partnership agreement
  5. The finalised texts for a new partnership agreement between the OACPS and the EU which was initialled on 15th April, 2021, comprises 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 negotiations and outcomes of the agreement were largely based on universally accepted international laws, conventions and treaties applicable to the parties (while recognising the supremacy of the constitutions of the constituent countries as uppermost).

III. Consultations and Nigeria’s inputs to the negotiation process

  1. The Federal Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning (FMBEP), in close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Federal Ministry of Justice (FMOJ), duly followed up (through an inter-ministerial committee) on the negotiation of the Samoa Agreement since September, 2018, and confirms that the outcome is in line with the:

➤ Global conventions which Nigeria subscribes to and relevant for advancement of multilateralism; and

➤ Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and (our laws and) measures for deepening the development cooperation with the EU and OACPS.

  1. In addition to the national development blueprints, the views of stakeholders for national positions on issues in the negotiation process through the following notable engagements:
  2. Inter-ministerial meeting on the Nigeria-ACP/EU partnership on Wednesday, 28th March, 2018;
  3. Sensitisation workshop on negotiation of the OACPS EU Post-Cotonou Agreement from 17th to 19th September, 2018;

iii. Inter-ministerial meeting on the draft evolving text of the Post-Cotonou Agreement on 30th November to 1st December, 2020; and (as well as several inter-ministerial meetings between budget and economic planning, foreign affairs and Federal Ministry of Justice).

  1. Seminar on the new framework and instruments of the European Union Development Cooperation held at the Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja, on Friday, 8th March, 2024 [Participants included CSOs, NGOs and religious bodies].
  2. Signing of the Post-Cotonou (Samoa) partnership agreement
  3. At the event for signing of the new partnership agreement in Apia, Samoa, on 15th November, 2023, 47 out of 79 OACPS countries endorsed the agreement.

Ahead of the 30th June, 2024, deadline for the parties, Nigeria signed the agreement on Friday, 28th June, 2024, at the OACPS Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium, after the last consultative meeting with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), religious bodies and other interest groups was convened. All the OACPS. Nigeria’s endorsement was accompanied with a statement of declaration (which is provided for the agreement) clarifying the understanding of the context of the agreement.

  1. The Samoa Agreement (or Post-Cotonou Agreement or Partnership Agreement) is a vital legal framework for cooperation between the OACPS and the European Union with the aim of promoting sustainable development, fighting climate change and its effects, generating investment opportunities and fostering collaboration among OACPS member states at the international stage.

The EU and all its 27 member states signed the Samoa Agreement on 15th November, 2023. Out of the 79 members of the OACPS, 74 signed before the deadline of 30th June, 2024.

The OACPS members that are yet to sign are Equatorial Guinea (Africa) Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean) and Nauru and Tuvalu (Pacific).

The agreement is one of several cooperation agreements that Nigeria signed with different countries, and also even with the EU. In addition to this framework agreement, we signed a number of agreements before implementing any articles.

The Samoa Agreement contains 103 foundational articles and then 79 other articles in the Africa Regional Protocol.

The reviews conducted by the Ministries of Budget and Economic Planning, Foreign Affairs and Justice confirm that none of those articles, the 103 foundational and 79 Africa Regional specific protocols, none of them offends our constitution or laws.

There is nowhere in those documents where LGBTQ is mentioned even in passing. There is no article which can be construed in our laws to be …, approving, supporting LGBTQ rights.

Furthermore, the declaration that we signed along with the agreement clarifies our position, not because we are in any doubt, but it clarifies our position in regards to other areas, particularly in cursive words, because, for example, the EU is moving towards cleaner energy, we are careful in ensuring, stating that we are a country blessed with oil and gas so to the extent that that agreement which we signed that it is construed as limiting our investment or further development of gas, that is incorrect.

And anything that we signed in that agreement in our interpretation must be in tandem with our constitution and laws, and to the extent that it is not, it is null and void.

The relationship between the EU and Nigeria is growing. Our President, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has met with a number of EU leaders and they have expressed support for the commendable oil reforms he has undertaken.

The German president, chancellor, was in Nigeria, Mr President has been to France, he has met with the Netherlands, he has met with Denmark’s leadership. We have had high profile visits by EU commissioners, members of EU Parliament, and in appreciation of the Nigerian President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is building.

Mr President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is unapologetic in his respect for Nigeria’s constitution and sovereignty. He respects Nigeria’s diversity, whether Muslims and Christians, he appreciates Nigeria’s sensitivities. He will never approve or support or engage in anything that can be damaging or that can be seen to be insensitive to our religious or otherwise other sensitivities.

The agreement which Nigeria has signed is to foster cooperation in the different areas….And today we are sharing with the media copies of what Nigeria has signed so that you can look at it freely, independently, and I am sure you will come to the same view as we did.

In the last few days, the high profile men and women of the ministry and other employees of the government have been inundated by messages from concerned Nigerians clarifying their positions, particularly which was amplified by the Daily Trust story.

There is no $150 billion amount in the agreement. Nigeria is not negotiating, neither has been offered $150 billion or Euros loan by Europe or any country in the world.

All the articles of the agreement, we will provide documents to see, were to provide further what they need.

And last but not the least; we have to appreciate the interests of Nigerians, particularly well-meaning Nigerians, that have reached out seeking to establish the truth.

We are even a bit disappointed that some of the media outfits, even when we provided them with information to show them that what they said is incorrect, have been hesitant, as far as I know, in issuing, in correcting, and therefore misinforming.

Not surprisingly, many people who already live in these media houses have tended to rely on what the media outfits have said to make comments, which is regrettable.

However, I want to assure Nigerians, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu government and certainly his directive to the ministry, do not authorise anything that is contrary to our constitution, law or sensitivities.

We have not signed the numerous cooperation agreements we have with different countries, the US, Japan, Korea, Asia, Latin America and European countries; we have not signed anything that can undermine our constitution or laws, nor have we agreed to any clause that is sensitive to our highly valued and revered religious values. Thank you.

Recommendations: Next steps

  1. In preparation for operationalisation of the Samoa Agreement, the next steps of action include:
  2. Ratification of the agreement after due consideration/approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), National Executive Council (NEC) and National Assembly;
  3. Launch of the regional compacts (Africa-EU; Caribbean-EU and Pacific-EU);

iii. Effective participation at the forthcoming OACPS-EU Joint Council of Ministers meetings and other governance systems of partnership; and

  1. Institution of structures for follow-up in the implementation of the agreement in collaboration with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other interest groups.


  1. The Samoa Agreement is a veritable instrument for Nigeria’s development cooperation with the EU beyond aid. The OACPS-EU partnership is one of the most diverse and multifaceted development pacts in the international system. It is, therefore, pertinent for the public to consult the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for clarity on the far-reaching issues relating to multi-sectoral provisions of the agreement.


Question and answer session

Madina Dauda Nadabo (Voice of America)

I want to know if there is no money involved in this Samoa Agreement; why must Nigeria sign it? Why would Nigeria sign any agreement that is not beneficial to the country? How are you going to convince Nigerians to trust you? These are my two questions. Thank you.

Minister of Information: The honourable minister has requested that he feels that answering this question. I would request that he (Minister of Budget)…

Minister of Budget: Thank you very much. I requested my brother, the minister (of information) to answer this question posed to me, and maybe he can help. Why are we signing an agreement at all? I think that’s the question. That’s why I….I’m sorry.

That’s why when I started, I gave a history that not only with the EU, Nigeria signs cooperation agreements with many countries, with many countries. In fact, it is a requirement by those countries so that you set out the parameters of the cooperation.

We had one with the EU in 1975. We have the Samoa, sorry we have the Cotonou Agreement. When you get the copy of the document, you will see that this is a broad agreement. It is about education. It is about good spirit. It is about water and sanitation. It is about decent work. It is about demography. It is about you. It is about sustainable development. It is about inclusive economic development. It is about private sector development. It is about human rights, democracy and rule of law. It is about good governance, public administration, personal data, peace and stability. So, those are the articles. Each article is about an area of cooperation.

We signed an agreement with the EU to say that we believe we can cooperate in these areas. In the several areas, which are about 100, and almost 200 state areas, the global ocean governance.

And when we sign this agreement, I always give my answer to this particular EU-OACP. So, even when we signed this agreement, we had to also sign a specific implementation agreement.

For example, we have a rule of law agreement, which we say, we have just signed one. I think, about four months ago, which would say the EU would say for this period of time, between 2024 and 2027, we are going to give you this amount of money under the rule of law, which is about 30 million, to support ICPC, to support EFCC, to support the Ministry of Justice and others.

We have the migration agreement also. We also have the France…Institutions Framework.

So, what I say is that within this agreement, there is nowhere where it is mentioned that Nigeria is going to receive 150 million or any sum for that matter.

But these areas of cooperation are areas which will develop further, explore further and will need capital, will need support, will need technical support so that we can enhance our crude production.

One of the biggest support we are receiving from the EU, for example, is what is part of our digital.…It’s called IDIZ, which is our digital….I’ve got about $600 million worth of projects coming on that.

So, I would say that there is nowhere in the document where you will see 150 million, but these are agreements which I believe, like with other countries, it defines what you want to relate with those countries in and how to go about that. Thank you.

Question by the Abuja Bureau Chief of the Nigerian Tribune, Leon Usigbe

Sir, in the course of your presentation, you said that Nigeria’s signing of the document was accompanied by a declaration clarifying the understanding of the agreement. So, I’m wondering whether there is any chance that Nigeria’s understanding of the agreement may be different from that of the EU or the framers of the document, and if there is a risk of that, what can you do?

Minister of Budget: Declaration has been made. The European Union, in a public document, which we will also maybe either provide the link or bring out for members, also explained that the 27 member countries themselves have differences, national differences about some areas of the cooperation.

So, that is even them on their own hand. So, you can imagine, what about the 79 other countries. That is why the agreement provides a proviso where a country, each country, not just Nigeria, can issue a declaration clarifying some bases in which it has decided.

Like I gave the example, one of the obvious ones, I will make the declaration agreement as a public document that was presented. We did it over the cause of concerns about misrepresentation about LGBTQ, we are clear, you will see it.

But I gave the example of how we are worried that because of the way Europe is moving to clean energy, we don’t want to sign something that limits our capacity to develop our oil and gas sector clearly.

So, one of the declarations you see makes it clear that even though we sign any plan, even though we sign, we are, we must be, we are categorical that that is not to limit our, that is not to limit us in any way, but strengthen our constitution and laws and our developmental strides.

And other elements of the declaration are such, and more importantly, it establishes President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s confidence in Nigeria’s, oh sorry, assertiveness in Nigeria’s sovereignty, where we say that whatever obtained in our constitution and laws is null and void not because we are worried, just for clarification.

Thank you.

Final remarks by the Minister of Information and National Orientation

Thank you very much. Thank you, prime minister, for those clarifications. Let me reiterate once again that the Ministry of Information and National Education under my leadership will do everything possible to ensure transparency, honesty in the dissemination of critical information.

We made this solemn pledge at the beginning between the two offices and we will continue to do that. We call on the members of the media to please help us to spread only what is correct and what you know you can verify.

It is normal and indeed within the right of the media to scrutinise the affairs of government; nobody can take that away. But it’s important that care is taken so that when information is being passed, we only present what we know to only be true, credible, honest and in the best interest of our nation.

Whatever information is being spread that will harm our unity, that will harm our political existence as a nation, then, of course, there must be something to be asked there.

We will continue to provide information to the media as needed, and we also implore the media to please report only what is factual.

The series of headlines we think that we have received from the newspaper in question has given us the cause for concern. We must say that.

For me, as a member of this industry, I am really particularly pained that I have to act to address a particular medium in this regard. But it is important because we have legislates that we are only going to provide what is credible, what we know to be factual.

The president and this administration will not in any way, in any way, I repeat, the president will not sign or force any of his officials to sign anything that will harm our nation, not in any way.

So, all of those things that there is a signature out there that gives away our country as an LGBTQ-compliant country or seeking to do that is mischaracterisation, misrepresentation.

The federal government insists that our laws will be respected. Our norms will be respected. Our tradition will also be respected. The two major religions here are against it. There is a law existing against the issue of LGBT. The Federal Government of Nigeria would not go against that.

I think it is important that we put this out there for those who reacted largely due to ignorance. There is also a surah in the Holy Quran. Before you put out any information out there, it is important that you cross-check and be sure of your facts.

We call on our ulammas, and we are already engaging with them, and all the religious leaders, from both the Muslim and the Christian faiths, to show understanding at this very difficult time.

We will continue to engage them. We will continue to put out the truth there. We will continue to give them, that is why we came, not just with the document that Nigeria signed, but with an entire document relating to the whole issue of the Samoa, the so-called Samoa Agreement, the Post-Cotonou Agreement.

There is nothing. We have examined it. The Attorney General of the Federation has examined it, as the Honourable Minister of Budget has said, and there is nothing that is said there that is of concern.

But of course, the government is there to continue to clarify, to continue to explain and to continue to appeal for the understanding of not just the media, but also the Nigerian population, for us to continue to grow on the path of progress and unity of our country.

Please, I call on all of you, and I want to use this opportunity to thank those media organisations that have provided clarity by fact-checking some of these claims put forward by this particular newspaper. It has been fact-checked. The statements and all the documents are actually out there, and the e-copy of this agreement has also been shared, and at the same time we are also going to give you the hard copy.

Please help us to educate our fellow countrymen so that together we can build a general and prosperous country. I want to thank you once again for this. There’s another appeal that the honourable minister wants to make.

Final remarks by Minister of Budget and Economic Planning:

Just to appeal, Mr President has undertaken, consistent with his campaign promises, are very, very demanding diplomacy in order to convince the world that we need all the support and the world would take it seriously, because there’s so much transparency for this whole climate….

I recall when we visited Saudi Arabia for the first time. The Minister of Investment of Saudi Arabia stated that they compared what President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was doing to that of his brother, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, taking bold, courageous measures that maybe we should have taken, being taken decades ago.

Development partners, as you very well know, are also in the media circle. They see what is happening. So, let us not really put our nation based on misrepresentation.

Let us support the commendable endeavours and promote the hard work so that the development partners we are engaging with, the investors we are looking for, will be strengthened in our resolve.

When an investor or a development partner sees a like-minded … .They will have the right to worry. So, we know that some will do it because it’s politically expedient, we can do nothing about it.

But we believe the majority of Nigerians are able to see parts of their service and support so that Nigeria can continue to be respected, Nigeria can continue to be an investment destination, and also appreciate the hard-working men and women in service, in ministries, who are dealing with this issue; they will be demoralised if all they see is their effort being misrepresented by somebody with a big voice in society using their power wrongly, a media house or a group of media entrepreneurs.

So, I appeal to all Nigerians to support the bold and courageous endeavours that we are taking so that our development partners can also be strengthened and continue to engage with us and to know that we appreciate what they are doing for us.


Thank you.

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