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Samoa agreement: FG to sue Daily Trust

The Federal Government says it will file a lawsuit against the Daily Trust newspaper over its report on signing of the Samoa agreement. The agreement,…

The Federal Government says it will file a lawsuit against the Daily Trust newspaper over its report on signing of the Samoa agreement.

The agreement, which has some clauses that compel 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, has sparked a chain of reactions.

Daily Trust reports that some clerics, rights activists, and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria are furious over the decision of the federal government to sign the controversial agreement.

Named after the Pacific Island Samoa, where it was signed, the agreement has gained traction.

In his initial reaction to the story, Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information, had said any provision in the agreement that is inconsistent with the laws of Nigeria shall be invalid.

“It is instructive to note that there is an existing legislation against same sex relationship in Nigeria enacted in 2014,” he had said.

But at a media briefing in Abuja, on Saturday, Idris said the government found the report as “baseless and sensational.”

“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 those 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.

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

“On the part of the Government, we continue on the honourable path of civility by restraining ourselves from taking self-help or draconian measures. While past governments clamped down on the media for infractions much lower than this, we are however toeing the path of civility and the rule of law.

“The Federal Government is lodging a formal complaint to the NPAN 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 restates its friendly policy towards ethical media and free speech. We would however not take fake news and disinformation that would injure the peace of our country and it’s national security lightly.”

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