Full Video : Femi Fani- Kayode The Parrot, Ranting Like an Uncivilized Fellow

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Fani-Kayode Under Fire For Attacking Daily Trust Reporter

 

-Why Fani-Kayode assaulted me — Daily Trust reporter

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There was outrage across Nigeria on Tuesday following a viral video, which showed a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani- Kayode threatening to deal with the Daily Trust correspondent in Cross River State, Mr Eyo Charles. Charles had on Thursday, August 20, 2020, during a roundtable with invited journalists in Calabar, asked Fani-Kayode to explain who is sponsoring his trips from one state to another “to supervise projects.”

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The question stemmed from the fact that Fani-Kayode is not holding any public office either at the state or national level, but had of recent embarked on “official visits” to states to assess the performance of governors.

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In the video which lasted for some minutes, Fani-Kayode called Mr Charles “stupid” saying “Don’t ever try that with me. I have a short fuse, I will hit you hard.”

 

The Management of Media Trust, publishers of the Daily Trust titles described the former minister’s response to its reporter as “reprehensible action” and called on the Nigeria Police Force to be on watch in the event something bad happened to Mr Charles.

 

In a statement on Tuesday, Media Trust’s Executive Director/Editor-in-Chief, Malam Naziru Mikailu, said: “We condemn the reprehensible actions of , who in a video clip now gone viral, verbally assaulted – repeatedly – our reporter, Eyo Charles in the course of doing his job.

 

“The video clip also released on one of the ex-ministers social media accounts was conveniently edited to exclude the question asked by Charles, totally devoid of mischief, simply sought clarification and information, like good journalism, should. Said editing paved the way for a social media lynch mob to rain expletives on our reporter, labelling him as ‘rude’.

 

“This could not be further away from the truth, and we stand by Charles, and commend him for his calmness during the ordeal. Daily Trust reporters are responsible professionals, who uphold the tenets of journalism, as well as best practices,” he said.

 

 

 

Journalists have right to interrogate leaders – NUJ

 

The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Nigerian Press Council (NPC), SERAP and prominent personalities have expressed disgust over the former minister’s verbal attack on Mr Charles.

 

“The Nigeria Union of Journalists- NUJ condemns the gangster-like outburst by Chief Femi Fani- Kayode against the Cross River State Correspondent of the Daily Trust Newspaper, Eyo Charles who asked him a simple question, which he felt was embarrassing,” Chris Isiguzo, the union’s national president said in a statement yesterday.

 

“In his reaction, Kayode assaulted the journalist and threatened him for daring to ask such a question. 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 a retraction of his untoward, irritating and awkward utterances, which negate simple decorum and civility.

 

“We are more shocked that the same Kayode who had in recent times used his social media handles to call leaders to account is at the same time attacking a Journalist for a simple demand for him to unmask those behind his nationwide tour. He had already visited six states. This is indeed terribly disappointing,” the statement said.

 

It’s an assault- IPC

 

In its reaction, the International Press Centre (IPC) condemned the verbal assault inflicted Mr Charles by Fani- Kayode.

 

The Executive Director of IPC, Mr Lanre Arogundade, in a statement issued by the Communications Officer of the organization, Olutoyin Ayoade, “Viewed this development as repulsive and unacceptable since there was nothing wrong with journalist Eyo Charles wanting to know if the tour was an independent initiative or a sponsored one.

 

According to the statement, “The former minister had the option of not answering the question and the abuses were totally out of place in the context of the event.

 

“IPC, therefore, demands that the former minister should apologise to the journalist and give assurance of his safety in view of the alleged further threats. IPC is of the view that journalists who are saddled with the constitutional obligation of monitoring governance and holding the accountable to the people should not be subjected to harassment in the course of duty,” it said.

 

Amnesty International equally condemned the insults and intimidation of the Daily Trust reporter.

 

“Mr. Eyo is a reporter just doing his job of interrogating any newsmaker in public interest,” its Director, Osai Ojigho, said in a statement last night.

 

“The actions of former minister Femi Fani Kayode during that press conference are an attack on freedom of the press. No journalists should be threatened or insulted for asking a question. Journalists seek accountability on behalf of the people and don’t deserve the kind of insults and threats Mr. Femi Fani Kayode unleashed on the Daily Trust reporter. These patterns of attacks on media and journalists must end,” he said. Also commenting on its Twitter handle, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said, “We condemn reported intimidation, harassment and attack on @daily trust journalist by a former Minister of Aviation .

 

“Mr Fani-Kayode should publicly apologise to the journalist. No one should ever call any journalist ‘stupid’ simply for doing their job.”

 

It’s a valid question- Centre for accountability

 

Also reacting, the Centre for Media, Policy and Accountability observed with dismay the disposition of the former minister.

 

In a statement by its Executive Director, Dr Suleiman A. Suleiman and Director of Media Development, Ibrahim Uba Yusuf, the organisation said, “The centre strongly believes that the question is in the public interest and is part of journalists’ role in holding power to account, a role enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

“Furthermore, the centre believes that the former minister has no right to assault any Nigerian citizen, let alone a journalist on constitutional duty on behalf of Nigerians.

 

“This public assault is a clear violation of the constitutional rights of journalists in the line of duty. This is unacceptable. Unfortunately, the Daily Trust reporter and other journalists present at the press briefing did not stand up for their rights.

 

“As an organisation, we felt it is incumbent to advise journalists and media houses to give a total blackout to such characters who have no respect for journalists and their profession.

 

“We also urge the Nigerian Union of Journalists to intervene on this matter. Above all, the Centre for Media Policy and Accountability demands a written apology.”

 

Also commenting, Tunji Asaju, a seasoned journalist and columnist described Fani -Kayode’s action as an assault on the journalism profession.

 

In a post on his Facebook page, Asaju said: “I am disturbed and totally angry that a rabble-rouser, a lickspittle, an abysmally corrupt, inept and uncouth Femi Fani-Kayode would insult a journalist the way he just did and get away with it.

 

“I am totally angry that this idiot of no compare would exhibit his madness on a hapless journalist who was only holding him accountable to the ideals he wants to be credited with, but which he lacks both in character and comportment.

 

“But above all, I am totally disturbed, that colleagues who were present did not see this as an assault on their profession, on their own integrity and on their noble profession – they were nodding heads and apologising like agama lizards that they all are.

 

“I am disturbed that a TV station even uploaded it with a caption that FFK reacts to a rude journalist! I am shocked that this is happening in 2020. I mean, Donald Trump has done worse to journalists, but he has also received worse. No journalist worth his calling and training should be insulted like that by a fraud! FFK is a fraud! I say so!”

 

Why I was attacked by FFK- Daily Trust Reporter

 

he had asked Alhaji Rasheed Olanrewaju of the AIT to invite some media houses so that he could relay the report of his extensive guided tour of Governor Ben Ayade’s projects, mostly in the southern part of the state.

 

The invitation was extended to Daily Trust newspaper, a frontline national newspaper I have worked for since early 2011.

 

It was an opportunity to hear more from the former minister on claims he made that if the PDP denied Gov Ben Ayade control of all party structures in the state, himself, Ayade and a good number of politicians would leave the party. It would be interesting to read and see his body language over his newfound romance with Ayade, I thought.

 

The press briefing was fixed for Thursday, August 20 by 10.30 am at Ayade’s private hotel situated adjacent to his palatial house in the State Housing Estate, Calabar.

 

The hotel was believed to have been moribund before now. But having been refurbished, distinguished persons and guests are routed there instead of to the massive, well-furnished state--owned Lakeside Hotel at Tinapa Business Resort or other presidential lodges in Calabar.

 

The government house press crew including Channels TV, NTA, the state-owned Cross River Broadcasting Corporation, AIT led by Mr Christian Ita, the chief press secretary, Imani Odey (special adviser to Ayade on electronic media) and Rasheed Olanrewaju, correspondent of AIT (chairman of Government House Press Crew) were all present. As were journalists from some national papers such as Mr Gill Nsa-Abasi of The Nation, Aniekan Aniekan of Oracle Today, David Odey of The Punch, Richard Ndoma of Leadership, George Odok of NAN, Ikechukwu Uche of Vanguard, etc.

 

Fani-Kayode came with his own media team and security details, including police officers, some of whom he shouted at, even in front of journalists, carried his baggage.

 

The former minister spent over one hour speaking highly of Gov Ayade, extolling his academic and political qualities and how his acumen, sagacity, intelligence and versatility have largely been ignored even with a plethora of projects he has initiated in the state.

 

FFK said he was in Cross River to see his friend, Ayade, whom he has been attracted to due to his extraordinary achievements with about the poorest federal allocation.

 

He said soon after the COVID-19 lockdown was lifted, he visited Zamfara, Anambra and five other states to meet with the governors, to appraise the extent of their projects.

 

He said although a PDP man, his visits have been across party lines. For instance, in Anambra State, he could see that his host, Gov Willie Obiano, an APGA governor, was constructing the biggest airport in the country. But when he shared the secret with Ayade, Ayade told him he had already acquired nearly a quarter of Obudu LGA, where he hails from, for an international cargo airport. On completion, it would be the biggest in the country.

 

According to FFK, he agreed with them over what he saw in both states, having himself built the Port Harcourt airport when he was aviation minister.

 

He also spoke about how Bakassi was unjustly ceded to Cameroon when he was in Obasanjo’s government, and how the Supreme Court nailed the plight of Cross River by ceding the 76 oil wells in the state to Akwa Ibom, thereby making the latter the richest state in the country. He pleaded that the federal government should revisit both thorny issues, and also create a special status for Cross River.

 

Time for questions Christian Ita moderated. But Olanrewaju interjected and sought permission from the ex-minister that questions be limited to what FFK has said.

 

But FFK himself said, “There is no problem at all. They should ask any manner of question.”

 

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 if 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 seaport were not, in fact, white elephant projects.

 

FFK disagreed strongly and said what Ayade needs is for the Federal Government to take over the projects and that Nigerians would see that the superhighway, for instance, would boost trade and integrate 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, accusing me of being sponsored to come and ask questions and insult him.

 

“How dare you ask me such a very stupid question? I know that you, a hungry-looking, brown envelop journalist, you are sponsored to ask me such [an] insulting question. You can look into my eyes and ask me such a demeaning question? I cannot take that!”

 

The tirade went on and on, during which time he threatened to call my employers to have me sacked.

 

It took the intervention and pleas of the chief press secretary to Governor Ayade, Mr Christian Ita and other journalists before the ex-minister dismissed me, saying “You can go ahead and write your rubbish. I have marked you.”

 

When he returned to his suite, he sent one of his security aides to further threaten me.

 

The man accosted me, saying what effrontery I had to ask such a stupid question, and what my next action was going to be.

 

Sensing how tensed the atmosphere was, I said to the man, “I had apologized to the ex-minister. If the usage of the word ‘bankroll’ was offensive to him, then I withdraw it. What more should I do?”

 

Now the ex-minister is circulating a doctored video claiming I was rude to him. Nothing could be farther from the truth! I have a modest background and I am well trained as a high priest to respect people of all standing.

 

This also goes to colleagues who have called to express unhappiness that I did not ‘give it back to FFK’.

 

The aforementioned journalists should be asked if I said anything else, besides the question, that could be considered rude.

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