African Media Roundtable Initiative (AMRI) has berated the former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode for verbally abusing a journalist who asked him a question in Calabar where he has been on a project tour of the state government.
AMRI while describing the attack as unwarranted, vexatious and reprehensible wondered why otherwise respected Nigerian like Femi Fani-Kayode will descend low to not answering a question.
Recall that Fani-Kayode in a viral video had rained insults on a Daily Trust reporter, Eyo Charles, a development that had attracted wide condemnation.
The Imitative in a release signed by Ellona Nwafor, the Executive Director also called on the police to invite and compel the former minister to write a guarantee of safety of the journalist.
AMRI says, “African Media Roundtable Initiative (AMRI) condemns in its entirety the needless verbal attack and threat of physical assault on Daily Trust reporter, Eyo Charles by the erstwhile Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode at his ongoing tour in Southern Nigeria. It is not only vexatious but reprehensible and indeed unwarranted.
“This speaks to the level of intolerance, narrow-mindedness and lack of decorum that has deeply beclouded the minds of otherwise some respected Nigerians and leaders. Again, Fani-Kayode’s unprovoked verbal venom on a journalist for simply asking a question that requires a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response leaves one but to puzzle on what really the former Minister was really viciously, vociferously defending or guarding against.
“As a vanguard and vocal campaigner of media freedom, AMRI sees the rain of abusive vituperations on a journalist lawfully carrying out his duty as a desperate attempt to intimidate, cow and gag the fourth estate of the realm. By openly denigrating and attacking the journalist’s sense of self-esteem, Fani-Kayode, a man of short fuse as he rightly branded himself has publicly advertised himself as one who has a strong bond with shenanigans and wouldn’t want his activities in public view.
“The former Minister as someone who has in the past two decades remained active in the political firmament cannot under any guise feign ignorance of the watchdog role of the media as explicitly enshrined in the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria. We find it worrisome and preposterous that a man who has immensely benefitted from the media platforms can now condescend so low to launch an avalanche of attack on the channel that gave him a voice a voice.
“Femi Fani-Kayode must as a matter of necessity be invited for questioning by the Nigeria Police Force for threatening a journalist with physical assault. Furthermore, he must offer a guarantee of safety in a printed document that no harm shall befall Eyo Charles or he shall be held solely responsible.
“We don’t find it satisfactory that he has offered what can be described as a derogatory apology. The instrumentality of the law must be deployed to send a strong signal to those who treat media workers with utter disdain and disrespect.
“Lastly, AMRI commends Charles Eyo for keeping his cool and upholding professionalism in the face of open provocation and threat. With people like him, the journalism profession is on its way to reclaim the vibrancy that stands it out among other professions.”