FG to Sue Daily Trust for Falsehood, Incitement

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Federal Government has said it would prosecute Daily Trust Newspaper for falsehood and inciting journalism capable of gaslighting the country and causing regional disaffection.
Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this Saturday in Abuja at a joint briefing with the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu to shed light on Samoa Agreement which the country signed on June 28, 2024 at the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) secretariat in Brussels, Belgium.
Idris expressed outrage at the level of reckless reporting and statements by some media organisations and individuals that border on national security and stability.
He said the Federal Government would lodge a formal complaint to the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) as well as use every lawful means to seek redress in the court of law.
The Minister accused Daily Trust of recklessness by falsely accusing the government of signing the Samoa deal to promote LGBTQ in the country.
” 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,” Idris said.
He noted that insidious and inciting publications by the Daily Trust in the recent months had come across as nothing but a deliberate effort to brush the government with a tar, adding although on many occasions government had restrained itself from believing that this was the case, but the consistency of the mischievous publications left it 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.
“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,” Idris said.
Idris said the administration had remained very tolerant of media criticism and guaranteed citizens’ rights to freedom of expression, adding it was, disheartening that some elements were abusing this free environment guaranteed by the Government.
“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,” he said.

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