NewsFG Takes Daily Trust To Ombudsman Over Samoa Agreement Report

FG Takes Daily Trust To Ombudsman Over Samoa Agreement Report

July 10, (THEWILL) – The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has condemned, what it termed, a misleading report by Daily Trust, on the Samoa agreement.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this to State House Correspondents after the Council’s meeting, presided over by President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday, in Abuja.

Idris said a letter of complaint has already been forwarded to the media ombudsman, the Nigerian Press Council (NPC), to compel the newspaper from circulating wrong and misleading information.

Nigeria, on June 28, 2024, signed the Samoa Agreement at the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium. The partnership agreement is between the EU and its Member States, on one hand, and the members of the OACPS on the other.

However, Daily Trust, on July 4, 2024, published a report titled, “LGBT: Knocks as Nigeria Signs $150 Billion Samoa deal”. The report claimed that the federal government signed an agreement with clauses requiring Nigeria to endorse the rights of Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex, and LGBTQI+ people. It also said that Nigeria would collect 150 billion dollars for endorsing the deal.

While the report had generated outrage among Nigerians over the purported agreement that allows for LGBT rights, the Federal Government through the Minister of Information and National Orientation, had on July 6, threatened to take legal action against Daily Trust for alleged misinformation and fake news in the Samoa agreement.

Earlier, the Minister said in negotiating the Agreement, Nigerian officials strictly followed the mandates exchanged in 2018 between the EU and the OACPS for the process. He assured 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.

Amid the controversies surrounding the agreement, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), also clarified that Nigeria does not recognise same-sex marriage. NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau, emphasised that the agreement does not compel Nigeria to accept LGBTQ rights as a condition for its benefits.

But the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, directed the Federal Government to suspend the implementation of the Samoa Agreement until all controversial clauses especially, those relating to LGBTQ rights are addressed.

Speaking with newsmen on Wednesday, Idris said, “FEC deliberated on the Daily Trust report on the Samoa agreement and concluded that it was meant to mislead the people against the government, we have written to the Ombudsman to call the newspaper to order.

“We will wait for the ombudsman report but will also urge the press to report responsibly even as the Tinubu-led administration recommits to press freedom.

“Tinubu government has no intention to gag the press or act in any way seen to be inhibiting media workers’ rights, they are seen as strong pillars towards fostering democracy in the country.

“They should ensure fake news has no footing in Nigeria. The report has damaged the psyche of some Nigerians.”

 

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