A nongovernment group Sha’aya’u Sarkin-Fawa Foundation in Zamfara state is set to give an award of ‘Resilient Journalist’ to Eyo Charles, the Daily Trust journalist assaulted by former aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode in Calabar.
The group described Charles as having being castigated, intimidated and insulted by Fani-Kayode for asking who “bankrolled” his tour of the country.
A video has since emerged showing Fani-Kayode in a tirade against the reporter who did not retaliate.
Chairman of the foundation, Sha’aya Sarkin-Fawa, said the maturity with which Charles handled his attacker had immensely attracted the foundation and left Charles deserving of “strong respect and recognition”.
Fani-Kayode continued his tour onto to Akwa Ibom, after Cross River.
“Fani-Kayode’s visit to Zamfara as one of the states he has visited and paid beggarly homage to the governors who he kept calling as his friend and the crisis that trailed the visit including the controversial traditional title Fani-Kayode cornered to himself along with his collaborators is still fresh in the minds of many Nigerians,” said Sarkin-Fawa.
“The patient attitude but good journalist posture displayed by Mr. Charles gives more hope and believe to Nigerians that we still have good media practitioners in the country.”
The incident sparked outrage in the media. Media Trust issued a warning to hold Fani-Kayode responsible for anything that befell its reporter after the former minister threatened him.
The next day, Fani-Kayode withdrew the word “stupid” he had used on the joournalist.
Nigeria Union of Journalists in Akwa Ibom, where Fani-Kayode was scheduled to visit next, rolled out a media blackout of all activities involving him.
Its national body and media freedom groups demanded an apology.
Different versions of apology credited to Fani-Kayode have since emerged on social media.
“As Nigerians, we strongly believe that if the former minister is truly the activist he claims, he should come out in the public domain and answer the question asked by Mr. Charles,” said Sarkin-Fawa.
“At our level, we will organize a befitting ceremony to give this award very soon after we reach out to Mr Charles,” he explained