Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, released a statement on Wednesday, 26 August 2020, apologising for referring to a journalist, Eyo Charles, as “stupid”.
Femi Fani-Kayode, however, denied allegations that he was threatening to harm the Daily Trust reporter.
He said, “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”.
“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.
The former minister who claimed he remained a friend of the media and would be the last to seek to disparage those that are honourable and noble within its ranks had come under heavy criticism for dressing down a reporter during a press conference in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
The journalist was said to have asked Fani-Kayode who bankrolled his recent tour of several southern states and this question was said to have infuriated the former minister.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, further condemned the former minister while the management of Daily Trust had threatened to report to the police if any harm came to its reporter.