Former aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode says he has withdrawn the word “stupid” he used in his encounter with a journalist in Calabar, calling it an “ugly episode”.
It comes after the uproar that followed the emergence of the #bankrolling video, in which he called a journalist “stupid” for asking about funding for his tour of states.
The question stemmed from the fact that Fani-Kayode is not holding any public office either at the state or national level, but had of recent embarked on “official visits” to states to assess the performance of governors.
The video, more than 2 minutes long, went viral on Tuesday, showing Fani-Kayode livid and hurling harsh words at journalist Eyo Charles, a correspondent for Daily Trust in Calabar.
He called the journalist “stupid”, saying, “Don’t ever try that with me. I have a short fuse, I will hit you hard.”
The Management of Media Trust, publishers of the Daily Trust titles called Fani-Kayode’s response to its reporter “reprehensible action” and called on the Nigeria Police Force to be on watch in the event something bad happened to Charles.
On Wednesday morning, Fani-Kayode posted what he termed “regrets” on both Facebook and Twitter but neither named the news outlet nor its reporter by name.
I met with my advisors & 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 & using such words. I hereby express my regrets for doing so.1/4
— Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) August 26, 2020
“I met with my advisors & 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 & using such words. I hereby express my regrets for doing so.”
He denied any “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.”
The journalist himself noted a security aide accosted him after he left the scene of the incident.
In his post, Fani-Kayode said, “I would never seek to physically harm a journalist. For the last 30 years I have defended & worked with journalists & fought for the right of freedom of [expression]. I am also very close to many in that profession. I would be the last to seek to disparage those that are honourable and noble within its ranks.
“I hope that this will assuage the pain and anger of anyone that was hurt or offended by this ugly episode. I have now put this matter behind me and moved on. Now my tour of the South continues. Moving to another state today!”