Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has been condemned by SERAP for calling a journalist, Charles Eyo ‘very stupid’ after he asked a question in a press conference.
The visibly angry Fani-Kayode who was on a tour to Cross River State Capital, Calabar rode the Daily Trust reporter under the bus for making what he has tagged an “insulting assertion”.
“We condemn reported intimidation, harassment and attack on Daily Trust journalist by a former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode. Mr Fani-Kayode should publicly apologise to the journalist,” SERAP said.
“No one should ever call any journalist “stupid” simply for doing their job.
“Journalistic freedom also covers possible recourse to a degree of exaggeration, or even provocation. The media has a vital role to play as “public watchdog” in imparting information of serious public concern and should not be inhibited or intimidated from playing that role,” SERAP concluded.
Eyo, had asked the ex-minister if his recent trips were being sponsored and Fani-Kayode flew into anger afterwards.
“I am saying this on live TV. What type of stupid question is that? Bankrolling who? Do you know who you are talking to? I will not take any questions from this man,” he said.
“What type of insulting question is that? Which bankroll? To do what? Who can give me money for anything? Who do you think you are talking to? Go and report yourself to your publisher? Please don’t insult me here. I don’t want to take any questions from this man.
“I could see from your face before you got here, how stupid you are. Don’t ever talk to me like that. Who do you think you’re talking to. Bankroll who? You think I am one of those ones you… from who, when, how? You have a small mind, very small mind. Don’t judge me by your own standards.
“I have been in politics since 1990… I have been locked up many times by this government. Suffered. I have been persecuted unlike most of the politicians you follow for brown envelope. Don’t ever judge me by that standard. I spend I don’t take and I am not a poor man — I have never been and I will never be.
“Bankroll how? Don’t ever suggest that to me. I am sorry that was deeply insulting. I don’t often get annoyed in press conference. I have been doing this type of thing for so many years. Don’t you ever make that kind of suggestion to me. Bankroll who? A former minister, a lawyer? Don’t ever try that with me again o, please. You see me well, don’t ever. Try it with others, but with me, don’t! I will hit you hard and if anybody sent you to ask that question and gave you brown envelope, go and tell them that you got more than they bargained for to do it.
“Very rude. It is not the standard of gaining trust at all and I will report you to your publisher. Thank you. Somebody that has been on the road for how long, you are coming to talk about that. Very stupid.”
The ex-minister asked if there were other questions but did not wait to entertain any other question before leaving the hall enraged.