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Samoa Agreement: Nigerian Govt Charges Media Houses On Responsible Journalism

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Samoa Agreement: Nigerian Govt Charges Media Houses On Responsible Journalism

The Federal Government, on Saturday, cautioned the media against destabilizing the country with fake news.

It gave the warning at a press briefing addressed by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, and his counterpart, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu.

This came amid earlier reports by a section of the media that with the recently signed Samoa Agreement, the Nigerian Government would promote LGBTQ.

DAILY POST recalls that the agreement was signed at the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium on June 28, 2024.

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However, addressing journalists, the Information Minister re-echoed his appeal for responsible journalism.

He said with the extant laws in the country, it was unthinkable for anyone to insinuate that the Nigerian Government would be part of any treaty or agreement promoting LGBTQ.

He expressed outrage that a particular national daily (not DAILY POST) had consistently dished out falsehood to the masses and vowed that the federal government would seek legal redress.

“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 the media’s normal work, we have now seen a pattern that is difficult to be wished away as normal journalism,” he said.

Idris said the insidious and inciting publications by the said media organisation 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.”

He said in the aftermath of the coup in Niger Republic, the media organisation “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,” he added, stating that neither the said media organisation “nor originators of that imaginative allegation provided any shred of evidence.”

The Minister added that in the same pattern, the said media organisation “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.”

He expressed anger that the media organisation “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.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu, who made the signed agreement available to journalists, challenged the media to scrutinize the content.

He said at no point in the document was anything close to LGBTQ mentioned, adding that Nigerian couldn’t have been a party to such agreement.

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