The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has hit at former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, over his verbal assault of a journalist, Eyo Charles, during a press conference in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
Fani-Kayode, who was on a tour of states across the country hurled insults on Charles, a reporter with Daily Trust at the event for asking him the person(s) bankrolling his activities to which the former erupted in anger calling the journalist all sorts of unprintable names including “stupid” and “small mind”.
“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.
“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, a very small mind. Don’t judge me by your own standards,” he said.
The minister’s vitriol has drawn the reaction of NUJ via a statement its President, Chris Isiguzo released.
The journalists’ body tore into Fani-Kayode saying his outburst was unbecoming of a public officer either former or present.
Isiguzo said the ex-minister was critical of the incumbent government but disliked being served the same medicine adding that his action smacked of cover-up.
The statement read partly: “By denigrating the journalist, Fani-Kayode, has exposed himself the more as an intolerant 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.
“We are more shocked that the same Fani-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.”