Eyo Charles, a journalist with Daily Trust newspaper, has shed more light into what transpired during a press briefing with a former Minister of Aviation in Nigeria, Femi Fani-Kayode.
In a viral video, Fani-Kayode, who recently took a tour of some South-South and South-East states, described the journalist as ‘very stupid’ for asking who was bankrolling his trip.
Reacting via a statement, Fani-Kayode said he had no apology to offer, insisting that the journalist’s comment was insulting.
Eyo said: “Many asked questions. Gill Nsa of The Nation, for instance, asked whether his national tour had any political undertone such as having presidential ambition. A reporter from the state-owned TV asked whether some of the 33 projects he said Ayade had embarked upon, such as the 278km superhighway from Bakassi to the border of Benue State as well as the deep sea port were not, in fact, white elephant projects.
“FKK disagreed strongly and said what Ayade needs is the federal government to take over the projects and that Nigerians would see that the superhighway for instance will boost trade and integrated Nigerians.
“Now the question that would break the camel’s back! When I was recognised, I asked, “Sir, please you did not disclose to us who is bankrolling you….” FFK did not allow me to land with the question when he threw caution to the wind and shouted at me, and said the press briefing was over.
“He then rained terrible abuses on me, calling me unprintable names; that I was sponsored to come and ask and insult him.”
Meanwhile, Femi Fani-Kayode has apologised the the reporter.
“I met with my advisors till late last night and I wish to say the following. I hereby withdraw the word ‘stupid’ which I used in my encounter with a journalist in Calabar. I have many friends in the media who I offended by losing my cool and using such words. I hereby express my regrets for doing so.”
The former minister, however, denied allegations that he was threatening to harm the Daily Trust reporter.
“I do, however, wish to state categorically that no threat of physical harm was ever made to the journalist in question and neither did I send anyone to threaten him. Anyone that says otherwise is lying and I challenge them to bring the proof.
“I would never seek to physically harm a journalist. For the last 30 years I have defended and worked with journalists and fought for the right of freedom of expression,” he said.
Fani-Kayode said he remained a friend of the media and would be the last to seek to disparage those that are honourable and noble within its ranks.