FG vows to sue Daily Trust over LGBT claim in Samoa Agreement

In a report published in both its print and online platforms a couple of days ago, the media company suggested that the Federal Government had accepted some controversial clauses in the Samoa Agreement, which compel underdeveloped and developing nations to support the agitations by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community recognition.

Dubbed the LGBT clause, the pre-conditions are prerequisites for nations to get financial and other support from advanced societies.

Unsurprisingly, the report triggered a chain of reactions from various sectors of society, with some clerics, rights activists, and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) expressing fury over the decision of the federal government to accede to the controversial conditions.

In its initial reaction to the report, Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, had allayed the fears of Nigerians, saying the provisions repugnant to the country’s constitution shall be inapplicable.

“It is instructive to note that there is an existing legislation against same-sex relationships in Nigeria enacted in 2014,” the Minister had said.

However, addressing a media briefing in Abuja on Saturday, July 6, 2024, Idris expressed the government’s displeasure over the report, which he described 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 its national security lightly,” he said.

Named after the Pacific Island Samoa, where it was signed, the agreement covered about 2 billion people from 48 African, 16 Caribbean and 15 Pacific countries that signed it.

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