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Fani-Kayode Apologises For Calling Journalist ‘Stupid’

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A former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has apologised for calling a journalist, Eyo Charles, “stupid” during a press briefing in Calabar, Cross Rivers on August 20.

Fani-Kayode, recently took a tour of some South-South and southeast states and as part of his activities, had media briefings with some of the journalists in the state.

The briefing, moderated by Governor Ben Ayade’s spokesperson, Christian Ita, was meant for the former minister to talk to the reporters about his tour.

In a video that has since gone viral on social media, Fani-Kayode lambasted the Daily Trust reporter for asking him a “stupid question”.

The journalist was said to have asked Fani-Kayode who bankrolled his recent tour of several southern states.

However, the former minister, who was infuriated by the question, noted that the journalist was stupid.

He said;

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. What type of insulting question is that? Which bankroll? To do what? Who can give me money for anything? Who do you think you are talking to? Go and report yourself to your publisher? Please don’t insult me here. I don’t want to take any questions from this man.

The Minister stated;

I could see from your face before you got here, how stupid you are. Don’t ever talk to me like that. Who do you think you’re talking to? Bankroll who? You think I am one of those ones you… from who, when, how? You have a small mind, very small mind. Don’t judge me by your own standards.

Fani-Kayode had initially released a statement late Tuesday declaring that he owes no one an apology for his action, reiterating that the journalist was rude.

However, in a twist of event, the Minister has now ‘withdrawn’ the word ‘stupid’ he used during the encounter.

In a statement on Wednesday, Fani-Kayode 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.

The former minister, however, denied allegations that he was threatening to harm the Daily Trust reporter.

Eyo Charles in a statement on Tuesday while giving a full account of what transpired during the media briefing said Fani-Kayode sent one of his security aides to further threaten him after the press conference.

Fani-Kayode denying the accusation declared;

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.

Fani-Kayode said 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.

The former minister had come under heavy criticism for calling the reporter ‘stupid’ during the conference in Calabar.

Nigeria Union of Journalists had condemned the former minister while the management of Daily Trust had threatened to report to the police if any harm came to its reporter.

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