Femi Fani Kayode has apologised for calling the Daily Trust journalist, Charles Eyo, stupid during an encounter with him on Tuesday at a press conference in Calabar, Cross River State.
FFK was caught on video shouting at the journalist who asked who was bankrolling his state project tour.
FFK revealed through his social media page that the question was an assertion not a question and was made by the journalist to ridicule him.
He wrote, “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.”
FFK also refuted the claim that he threatened the journalist, he said, “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 yet another state today!”
Reacting to his encounter with the ex-minister of Aviation, Charles Eyo revealed that FFk told the media to ask him any manner of questions relating to his speech on his project tour.
He wrote, “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,” Charles said.
He added, “It took the intervention and pleas from the chief press secretary to Governor Ayade, Mr Christian Ita and other journalists before the ex-minister would leave the Daily Trust reporter, saying ‘You can go ahead and write your rubbish. I have marked you.’”
Daily Trust, however, issued a statement saying that its journalists are professionals and they will stand by Charles Eyo.
The statement reads, “We urge the Nigeria Police to take note, that if anything happens to Charles, Daily Trust will hold Fani-Kayode responsible, especially due to the intensity of the verbal threats he issued during the shocking incident.
The actions of Fani-Kayode are not only reprehensible but also constitute a setback to press freedom, in the direst form. This kind of assault raises major concerns over the safety of journalists in Nigeria.”