A journalist with Daily Trust newspaper, Eyo Charles, has shed more light on what transpired between him and a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, during a press conference in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
KanyiDaily had shared a viral video showing the moment Fani-Kayode was raining insults at Eyo Charles for asking him a “stupid question” during a press conference on Thursday 20, August 2020.
Charles had asked Fani-Kayode who bankrolled his recent tour of some southern states. But the former minister, who was infuriated by the question, said the journalist was stupid.
In a statement on Tuesday, the reporter explained that Fani-Kayode had given the go-ahead to be asked questions, but when it came to that on the “bankrolling”, he lost his cool.
“Time for question, Christian Ita moderated. But Olanrewaju interjected and sought permission from the ex-minister that questions be limited to what FKK had said. But FKK himself said there was no problem at all. That we should ask any manner of question.
“Many asked questions. Gill Nsa of The Nation, for instance, asked whether his national tour had any political undertone such as having presidential ambition. A reporter from the state-owned TV asked whether some of the 33 projects he said Ayade had embarked upon, such as the 278km superhighway from Bakassi to the border of Benue State as well as the deep sea port were not, in fact, white elephant projects.
“FKK disagreed strongly and said what Ayade needs is the federal government to take over the projects and that Nigerians would see that the superhighway for instance will boost trade and integrated Nigerians.
“Now the question that would break the camel’s back! 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.
“He then rained terrible abuses on me, calling me unprintable names; that I was sponsored to come and ask and insult him.”
The journalist further revealed that after the incident which sparked outrage among Nigerians, he was threatened by a security agent attached to the former minister, and had to “sneak” out of the place.
“It took the intervention and pleas from Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ayade, Mr Christian Ita, and other journalists before the ex-minister would leave the Daily Trust reporter, saying, ‘You can go ahead and write your rubbish. I have marked you’.
“When he returned to his suite, he sent one of his security aides to further threaten me. The man accosted me, saying what effrontery did I 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 apologised 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.
“Now the ex-minister is circulating a doctored video, claiming I was rude to him. What could be farther from the truth! 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 FKK.”
Meanwhile, Fani-Kayode said he had no apology to offer, insisting that he was insulted by the question thrown at him by the journalist at the press conference.