The former Minister of Aviation has apologized for referring to a Journalist, Eyo Charles, as ”stupid” at a press Conference held in Calabar, Cross River State.
Fani Kayode said this in a statement which he released on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
In his word ”“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.”
He however denied the allegation of threatening to harm the Journalist from Daily Trust.
“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 reinstated that he remain a friend of the media and would be the last to seek to disparage those that are honorable and noble within its ranks.
It would be recalled that the former Minister had come under heavy criticism and backlash from Nigerians on Social Media for his abuse of a Journalist at a Press Conference in a video that was made available online by Africa TV.
The journalist was said to have asked Fani-Kayode who bankrolled his recent tour of several southern states.
However, the former minister, who was angered by the question, said the journalist was stupid.
He said, “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.”
His action was widely condemned by Nigerians and the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) also condemned the former minister while the management of Daily Trust had threatened to report to the police if any harm came to its reporter.220