LGBTQ: FG threatens to drag Daily Trust to court

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The federal government has threatened to take Daily Trust before the court and Newspapers’ Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN, in respect of the newspaper’s publication that the Samoa Agreement $150bn loan comes with Nigeria signing up to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer, LGBTQ rights.

The Samoa agreement focused on addressing global challenges.

However, controversy has surronded the $150bn loan federal government obtained from the programme, EU, African, Caribbean and Pacific countries have in place with report that a said requirement for the facility, protection of LGBTQ rights, which is inconsistent with Nigerian law has been agreed to by the government.

The insinuation gained wide traction following report by Daily Trust that due to the loan government has committed itself to promoting LGBTQ rights.

In turn, the federal government denied the charge.

Reiterating the denial on Saturday, the Minister of information and Orientation, Mohammed Idris, hit out at Daily Trust, alleging the publication of having penchant for spreading falsehood.

Idris also told of the government’s plan to take the matter up with the newspaper legally, saying the alleged false report gained traction with northern Muslim clerics.

According to him, “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 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.

“The insidious and inciting publications by 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 originators of that imaginative allegation provided any shred of evidence.

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“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 hearsays. They also showed no remorse or the humility to recant.

“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.

“The baseless and sensational story unfortunately formed a basis for Khutba (sermons) by some of our respected imams who were misled by the story, thereby raising tempers.

“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.

“But beyond this, 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 added: “The Ministry of Information and National Orientation under my leadership will do everything possible to ensure transparency, honesty in the dissemination of credible information.

“We made this solemn pledge at the beginning when we were new to office and we will continue to do that.

“We call on you, members of the media, to please help us to spread only what is correct and what you know you can verify.

“It is normal and indeed within the right of the media to scrutinise the affairs of government.

“Nobody can take that away but it is important that care is taken so that when information is being passed, we only present what we know to only the true, credible, honest and in the best interest of our nation.

“Whenever information is being spread that will harm our unity, that will harm our political existence as a nation, then of course there must be something to be asked there.

“We will continue to provide information to the media as needed.

“I would also implore the media to please report only what is factual.

“The series of headlines we think that we have received from the newspaper has given us a cause for concern.

“For me, as a member of this industry, I am really particularly pained that I have to come to address a particular medium in this regard.

“But it is important because we have made this pledge that we are only going to provide what is credible, what we know to be factual.

“The President and this administration will not in any way, in any way, I repeat, the President will not sign or cause any office official to sign anything that will harm our nation, not in any way.

“So to all those who come on in that there is a signature out there that gives away our country as an LGBT-compliant country or seeking to do that, it is mischaracterization, misrepresentation.

“The current government insists that our laws will be respected, our norms will be respected, our traditions will also be respected and our values will be respected.

“The two major religions here are against it.

“I think it is important that we put this out there for those who have reacted largely due to ignorance.

“There is also a Surah, Surah Al-Hujurat in the Holy Quran.

“Before you put out any information out there, it is important that you cross-check and be sure of your facts.”

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