Eyo Charles, the journalist in a viral video that has emerged of him being verbally assaulted by former aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode, says he regrets apologizing that his question annoyed the former minister.
Fani-Kayode had visited at least seven states across party lines to inspect government projects.
At a briefing at the end of the Fani-Kayode’s tour of Cross River to inspect Gov Ben Ayade’s projects, Daily Trust Calabar correspondent Charles asked about the funding for the tour. The venue was at Ayade’s private hotel.
A moderator had earlier suggested the questioning be limited to Fani-Kayode comments on the projects he had visited.
Fani-Kayode is reported to have said, “There is no problems at all. They should ask any manners [of] questions”, insisting he is “equal to the task”, according to Charles.
“When I was recognised, I asked, ‘Sir, please you did not disclose to us who is bankrolling you….”
“FFK did not allow me to land with the question when he threw caution to the wind and shouted at me, and said the press briefing was over.”
What transpired has since emerged in the viral video in which “the ex-minister is claiming I was rude to him.”
Charles continued to receive further threat even after the incident was over.
He said a “security aide” to Fani-Kayode accosted him, saying, “What effrontery do you have to ask such a stupid question, and what was my next action?”
“Sensing how tensed up the atmosphere was, I said to the man, ‘I had apologized to the ex-minister. If the usage of the word ‘bankroll’ was offensive to him, then I withdraw it. What more should I do?’ I then sneaked away.”
Charles says the claim that he was rude to Fani-Kayode is not true.
“I have a modest background and well trained as a high priest to respect people of all standing. Please note too that I am a Bishop in the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, which exalted stand can never allow me to descend to insulting public figures or anyone.
“This is also to colleagues that have called to express unhappiness that I did not ‘give it back to FFK.”
He added, “I am 53, he is not much older than me. I am not a child, I am an adult and I have children.”