FG drags Daily Trust before ombudsman over LGBTQ report

The Federal Government has taken the Daily Trust Newspapers to the Nigerian Press Council over a report alleging that it signed an LGBTQ-themed agreement named after the Pacific Island Samoa, where it was signed last November.

The report claimed that the agreement contains some clauses that compel underdeveloped and developing nations to support the agitations by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community for recognition, as a condition for benefiting from a $150bn funding package, among other supports from advanced societies.

The FG argued that it was only proper for the paper to admit its report was wrong and tender an apology because of the harm it caused.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

Idris who spoke alongside the Attorney-General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, lamented that Nigerians had embraced the story without reading the Samoa report.

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“We have taken to the industry’s self-appointed ombudsman to look at some of the excesses, we have made a complaint to the ombudsman to look at the report and we have sighted examples of where Daily Trust has got it wrong.

“So that Daily Trust can come clean and also mention or apologize to the nation and the government. There is no harm in saying you are wrong in this one, we apologise and we get it right, but we don’t expect that we will just sit down and keep quiet when the government feels that what a particular newspaper has written is not in the best interest of the country and it is not correct.

“It is misinformation and therefore action needs to be taken and the action we have taken is that as we speak now complained with the ombudsman,” said Idris.

He described the press as “a partner in any democratic journey” and the Tinubu administration “believes in the freedom of expression and the role of the media in ensuring uninterrupted democracy”

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According to the information minister, “Nigerians have been misinformed”.

“People have interpreted even without reading the report itself, the wording of Daily Trust and have taken to making sermons, and therefore, this further underscores the importance of the media and what we say all the time,” he stated.

Idris argued that all media practitioners should “report what is correct and in the best interest of the nation.”

He added, “The Federal Government insists that that report on the Samoa agreement was misleading, it was false and designed to create confusion in the land.

“My ministry briefed the Federal Executive Council on all the steps we have taken, including writing to the industry’s ombudsman to draw the attention of Daily Trust Newspaper about that very misleading report.

“We expect that the industry’s ombudsman will look at that dispassionately and FEC will be patient to await the report of the ombudsman.”

The minister pledged that the FG is committed to ensuring that the media will continue to operate in an environment that is “very friendly and supportive of their work as a strong pillar for the continuous enthronement of democracy in our land.”

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Also speaking on the matter was the AGF and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, who said the FG is exploring a peaceful conflict resolution route before taking “any further steps if it fails.”

He said, “We want to ensure that we give it all necessary and friendly attention before we take any further steps if it fails. I hope it doesn’t fail.

“Generally government MDAs are available if there is any area that members of the Press would like to clear and the freedom of Information Act is alive and being rigorously honoured and in operation.

“So I will advise that if there is any information that the members of the Press require, it should be channeled to the appropriate MDAs before going to press.”

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