Samoa Agreement: We’ll apologise if… – Daily Trust

Daily Trust

The management of Media Trust Group, owners of Daily Trust, Trust TV and Trust Radio, on Monday said it is ready to apologise to the Federal Government if its interpretation of the Samoa Agreement entered into by the European Union (EU) and some countries, including Nigeria, is proven wrong.

On Saturday, the Nigerian government threatened to report the news organisation to the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and file a lawsuit over the claim that the EU “reportedly” included clauses in the deal which mandate consenting countries to promote the rights of LBGTQ.

Reacting in a statement on Monday signed by the company secretary/legal adviser, Maryam Bello, the newspaper said, “Two ministers of government, and other sundry commentators have taken us to the cleaners over our story on the Samoa Agreement in particular, and some other reports published earlier. We have followed with attention what these government officials said, and left unsaid, and we will publish that in full, for the records. We have also acknowledged lapses in our reporting on this particular matter, pointed out to us by professional colleagues, and we will review and take appropriate measures.

“As our editors understood it, the Samoa Agreement signed by Nigeria has expanded the definition of gender rights, from the traditional male-female, to a new norm, captured by the term LGBTQ (Lesbian; Bi-sexual, Gay, Transgender and Queer). That is the crux of the matter.

“If the agreement does not aim at promoting such new orientation, widely accepted in Western countries, then we are wrong in our interpretation. We will readily apologise both to the government and to the public for crying wolf.

“We expect that those qualified, by training and experience, to make such a judgement, will weigh into the matter and we will as usual, publish all sides in the discussion, including that of the government.

“We wish to add that in this story, as in others over the last 26 years, the Daily Trust tried to be guided by public interest.”

The newspaper also addressed the government’s concern about previous stories, one of which was the alleged renaming of the Murtala Muhammed Way in Abuja after Prof Wole Soyinka.

“…The minister said ‘Daily Trust concocted and popularised a lie that the Federal Government had renamed the Murtala Muhammed Expressway in Abuja to Wole Soyinka Way’. We did publish two opinion articles in Daily Trust of Wednesday and Saturday, June 12 and 15, 2024, in which the opinion writers raised concerns over alleged renaming of the Murtala Muhammed Way, Abuja, after Wole Soyinka.

“We recall that the information minister’s press statement on that matter, which was issued on the 17th of June, 2024, with the headline ‘Abuja’s Murtala Muhammed Way NOT Renamed after Soyinka-FG’, was reported generously in our online and offline platforms,” the statement said.

Earlier, the newspaper published an opinion piece by Suleiman Suleiman who said the news medium got the report wrong, but also blamed the government for not reacting early.

“Nigerian governments are generally even sloppier in responding to such mistakes. What was needed from the government, by the evening of July 4 when the story was published, was for a very senior official of the government—a Minister or higher—to use their own Muslim or Christian backgrounds to defuse the story. Instead, people were grumbling on social media, allowing Nigerians enough time to interpret the issue as they deem fit,” Suleiman wrote.