Surely this is not going to be the best of times for the embattled former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode for his verbal attacks on the Daily Trust reporter, Eyo Charles at a Press Briefing in Cross Rivers State for asking a simple question.
It has been rains of condemnations on FFK for his actions from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), International Press Centre (IPC) and the media house he worked for, the Daily Trust.
All condemnations demanded official apology from FFK to the reporter.
The NUJ implored FFK to retract his statement in a Press Release signed by its National President, Chris Isiguzo,
“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.”
“…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.
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.”
In a statement signed by the Communication Officer of IPC, Olutoyin Ayoade, IPC said,
“IPC therefore demands that the former Minister should apologise to the Journalist and give an 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 government accountable to the people should not be subjected to harassment in the course of duty.”
Meanwhile, FFK has dared SERAP to go ahead and sue him. According to him, he is not Buhari they are hounding,
“Stop ranting. Sue me and see the lawyer in me take you to the cleaners. You think I’m Buhari that you constantly hound?”
SERAP had earlier condemned his uncivilized manner in which the Daily Trust reporter, Eyo Charles was treated at a Press Briefings,
“BREAKING: We condemn reported intimidation, harassment and attack on @daily_trust journalist by a former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode. Mr Fani-Kayode should publicly apologise to the journalist.
No one should ever call any journalist “stupid” simply for doing their job Journalistic freedom also covers possible recourse to a degree of exaggeration, or even provocation. The media has a vital role to play as “public watchdog” in imparting information of serious public concern and should not be inhibited or intimidated from playing that role.”.
In its stand, the employer of Eno Charles, The Daily Trust has already taken a stand in support of its reporter in a statement signed by its Executive Director/Editor-in-Chief, Naziru Mikailu Abubakar,
“That Fani-Kayode attacks a reporter doing his job, is an indication of the chilling disregard he has towards the media, and its work in investigating and reporting on issues. As always, we stand in solidarity with our reporters, and will continue to fight for the rights of all journalists. After all, journalism is part of the bedrock of democracy; therefore practitioners must not be intimidated or threatened as they carry out their work.
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 a most dire form. This kind of assault raises major concerns over the safety of journalists in Nigeria.” – Daily Trust.