Femi Fani-Kayode, former Minister of Aviation in Nigeria, has said that he owed nobody apology for verbally attacking a journalist during a press conference.
SaharaReporters had reported how Fani-Kayode attacked Eyo Charles, a journalist with Daily Trust newspaper, who asked him a question during a press briefing in Calabar, Cross River State, last week.
Charles had asked the former minister if his recent trips to some South-South and South-West states were sponsored when Fani-Kayode rained verbal assualt at him.
The ex-minister said, “I could see from your face before you got here, how stupid you are. Don’t ever talk to me like that. Who do you think you’re talking to. Bankrol who? You think I am one of those ones you… from who, when, how? You have a small mind, very small mind. Don’t judge me by your own standards.”
The development has since triggered reactions among Nigerians with most condemning Fani-Kayod’s action.
But reacting via a statement on Twitter, Fani-Kayode insisted that he had no apologies to offer for his action.
He said, “During my tour of the South and after a long and successful press conference in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, a journalist put up his hand for the last question and said: Well we do not know who is bankrolling you.
“Below is my response and I have no apology to offer for it. This is not a question but an assertion and an insult. And if this insulting assertion were made before (Donald) Trump or OBJ (Olusegun Obasanjo), I know how they would have reacted.
“The young man apologised to me during the press conference and sent his apologies to me after the conference. I have accepted his apologies in good faith and moved on.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Journalists has condemned the action of the former minister
NUJ in a statement by its President, Chris Isiguzo, described Fani-Kayode as “an intolerant, unstable person”, who does not want his activities scrutinised by the media.
He said, “By denigrating the journalist, Fani-Kayode has exposed himself the more as an intolerant and unstable person who will not want his activities closely scrutinised by the media.
“It is instructive to remind the likes of Fani-Kayode that it is the constitutional right of journalists to monitor and keep a check on people and institutions in power.
“By delving into politics and holding political office, Fani-Kayode is very conversant with the watchdog role of the media.
“For him to have embarked on assessment of projects in some states, even though we are yet to be told under what platform he is doing so, it is proper for the media to hold him to account for his actions and decisions.
“His reaction was totally unacceptable, dishonourable and reprehensible and we demand for retraction of his untoward, irritating and awkward utterances which negate simple decorum and civility.”