Fani-Kayode explains why he angrily rebuked a journalist in Calabar

Former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, says he was insulted by the journalist whom he attacked at a press conference in Calabra, Cross River state.

TMZNaija had reported how Fani-Kayode, who has been touring some PDP states, shouted at Eyo Charles, a reporter with Daily Trust, before ending a briefing.


Charles had asked him if his recent trips were being sponsored and the ex-minister lost his cool afterwards.

“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,” he had said in a video.

The development triggered varied responses among many Nigerians, with some faulting the former minister’s action.

But reacting via a statement, Fani-Kayode said he had no apology to offer, insisting that the journalist’s comment was insulting.

“During my tour of the South and after a long and successful press conference in Calabar, Cross Rivers state, a journalist put up his hand for the last question and said: Well we do not know who is bankrolling you,” he said.

“This is not a question but an assertion and an insult. And if this insulting assertion were made before (Donald) Trump or OBJ (Olusegun Obasanjo), I know how they would have reacted.

“The young man apologised to me during the press conference and sent his apologies to me after the conference. I have accepted his apologies in good faith and moved on.

“I have always had respect for journalists and I always will. Those of them that know me or have worked with or for me over the last 30 years can attest to that. However there is a distinction between asking a question and offering an insult.

“This is all the more so when it is clear that the assertion was sponsored and engineered by my political enemies who wanted to use the young man to insult and embarrass me and question my integrity. Well they got more than they bargained for,” he said.

“I repeat this was not a question but an assertion and an insult and I will not accept that from any man born of woman. Thank you.”

The former in another statement also denied the report that he sent his security men to threaten the journalist.

"I have taken note of the report by Daily Trust on the incident. The content is false. I didn't send any of my security men to threaten their reporter," he said.

"I only reprimanded him for a premeditated plan to embarrass me & he apologised thereafter. That was all.

"This is not a battle between me and the esteemed Nigerian journalists who respect the ethics of the noble profession. I have always been and will always be a friend to journalists and a champion of freedom of speech.

What I will not accept are brazen insults from an individual in the name of journalism. The assertion or assumption that I am being bankrolled by anyone is deeply insulting.

Finally to the NUJ, I say you have got me completely wrong. It would have been better if you had heard my own side of the story and established who was behind this whole incident and attempt to embarrass me, who paid for it and how much they paid before going to press. Nevertheless I still hold you in high esteem.

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