The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned a former minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, for verbally attacking a journalist with Daily Trust Newspaper, Naijatell reports.
Naijatell had reported how Kayode attacked Eyo Charles, a journalist who asked him if his recent Southeastern tour were being sponsored at a press conference in Calabar, last week.
Fani-Kayode, who flew into a rage almost immediately described the reporter as “very stupid”, saying he is not a poor man who would beg for funds from politicians.
“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.
He also threatened to report the journalist to his boss, Daily Trust publisher, before storming out of the hall in anger, thereby avoiding further questions from other journalists.
Reacting in a statement forwarded to Naijatell issued by its president, Chris Isiguzo, the NUJ described the outburst by Fani-Kayode as “gangster-like” over a simple question which he felt was embarrassing.
“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 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,” the statement added.
Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister of Aviation, who began a tour of some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) states in July, had visited Cross River State last week.
Naijatell gathered that at the end of the tour, he held a press conference where he showered encomiums on Prof. Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River State where the fracas broke out.