After his ugly incident with a journalist that went viral on Tuesday, Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, has apologised for calling, Eyo Charles, a Daily Trust reporter “stupid.”
Fani-Kayode expressed his apology in a statement on Wednesday, a day after his encounter with the said journalist in Calabar had received condemnation from Nigerians, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), human rights groups among others.
Also, the management of Daily Trust had threatened to report to the police if any harm came to its reporter.
Fani-Kayode statement reads: “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.
“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. I am also very close to many in that profession. I would be the last to seek to disparage those that are honorable and noble within its ranks.
“I hope that this will assuage the pain and anger of anyone that was hurt or offended by this ugly episode. I have now put this matter behind me and moved on. Now my tour of the South continues. Moving to another state today!”
Fani-Kayode had been heavily criticised for calling the reporter ‘stupid’ during a press conference in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, on Tuesday.
His outburst of anger in an encounter with the journalist was seen in a video that had since gone viral on social media, as Fani-Kayode dressed down the Daily Trust reporter, who he said asked him a “stupid question.”
Fani-Kayode, who had recently embarked on tour of some states in Nigeria, was said to have been asked by the reporter who bankrolled his recent tour of several southern states.
But, the former minister, who was infuriated by the reporter’s question, instead of providing answer, said the journalist was “stupid.”
“I am saying this on live TV. What type of stupid question is that? Bankrolling who? Do you know who you are talking to? I will not take any questions from this man. What type of insulting question is that? Which bankroll? To do what? Who can give me money for anything? Who do you think you are talking to? Go and report yourself to your publisher? Please don’t insult me here. I don’t want to take any questions from this man.
“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? Bankroll 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,” Fani-Kayode said.