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Samoa LGBTQ Controversy: FG To Report Daily Trust To Ombudsman


The Federal Government on Saturday held a press conference to douse the tension ignited by reports that the government had signed a pro-LGBTQ agreement.

The Samoa Agreement controversy centred around allegations of the Federal Government signing a deal that supposedly promoted LGBTQ rights, as reported by the Daily Trust newspaper.

The controversy escalated with the government vehemently denying the existence of such an agreement and accusing the newspaper of spreading false information that could incite unrest.

At the press conference held at the National Press Centre, Abuja, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, expressed grave concerns over what he described as increasingly reckless reporting by some media organisations.

The minister reaffirmed the government’s stance on fostering an open and democratic society, emphasising President Tinubu’s lifelong dedication to democracy and human rights.

He acknowledged the media’s role as a watchdog and assured the public of the administration’s tolerance towards criticism and commitment to protecting freedom of expression.

He said, “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 guaranteed citizens’ rights to freedom of expression. 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 that occasional reporting as part of media’s normal work, we have now seen a pattern that is difficult to be wished away as normal journalism.”

The minister also highlighted instances where these freedoms had been allegedly abused to the detriment of national interests.

He pointed to specific examples involving the Daily Trust newspaper, accusing it of repeatedly publishing misleading and incendiary stories.

These included allegations regarding national security, foreign military bases, and recently, a controversial claim about government policies on LGBTQ issues.

He said, “The insidious and inciting publications by the Daily Trust 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 the case but the consistency of the jejune and mischievous publications leaves us with no option.

“In the aftermath of the coup in Niger Republic, Daily Trust championed a jaundiced narrative that the Federal Government was driving the country into a war and twisted it with regional sentiment to cause disaffection. 

“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.”

He criticised the newspaper for what he described as baseless accusations unsupported by evidence, which had allegedly led to public unrest and misinformed religious leaders.

He said, “Then just two weeks ago, Daily Trust concocted and popularised a lie that the Federal Government had renamed the Murtala Mohammed Expressway in Abuja to Wole Soyinka Way.

“In all those instances all that the paper depended on were falsehood and hearsay. They also showed no remorse or the humility to recant.

“We however did not envisage that Daily Trust and the 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. Surprisingly, the paper put forward no evidence nor provided the agreement allegedly signed to prove their point.”

Despite these grievances, Minister Idris assured that the government would continue to exercise restraint and uphold the rule of law.

“Unlike past administrations that resorted to draconian measures, we remain committed to resolving these issues through lawful means,” he affirmed.

Idris announced that the Federal Government would lodge a formal complaint with the NPAN Ombudsman and pursue legal action against the Daily Trust.

He reiterated the administration’s support for ethical journalism while warning against the propagation of fake news and misinformation.

“This government values the role of the media in our democracy. However, we cannot tolerate reporting that threatens national security and undermines the peace of our country,” Minister Idris concluded.

The press conference concluded with an invitation for the Minister of Budget and National Planning to provide further details on the government’s position regarding the issues raised.

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