A new video has surfaced online showing Femi Fani-Kayode, a former aviation minister, harassing another journalist for asking him a question at a press briefing.
This is coming a few hours after Mr Fani-Kayode expressed regret over a similar incident with a Daily Trust reporter at a press briefing, Thursday, in Calabar, Cross River State.
The Calabar incident is captured in a video which has attracted outrage since Tuesday from several people and groups, including the journalists’ union in Nigeria.
In the video of the Calabar incident, Mr Fani-Kayode, who was visibly angry, told the reporter, Eyo Charles, he was “foolish” for asking him who “bankrolled” his tour of projects in Cross River and other states in the South-south.
The press briefing, moderated by Governor Ben Ayade’s spokesperson, Christian Ita, was meant for the former minister to talk to the reporters about his tour.
It was attended by reporters from Vanguard, Punch, NAN, AIT, and other media houses.
“I could see from your face before you got here, how stupid you are. Don’t ever talk to me like that,” Mr Fani-Kayode kept yelling at the reporter who was still standing and apologising — “I am sorry, sir.”
“Don’t judge me by your own standards,” the former minister kept saying.
“I have been in politics since 1990. I am not one of those politicians that you think will just come…. I was taken, I have been locked up how many times by this government. I have been prosecuted, unlike most of these politicians you follow for brown envelopes!
“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 will never be.”
The President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Chris Isiguzo, said in a statement, Tuesday, that Mr Fani-Kayode’s attack against the Daily Trust reporter, Mr Charles, was “gangster-like”.
Mr Isiguzo said the reporter was only asking “a simple question”.
“For him to have embarked on assessment of projects in some states, even though we are yet to be told under what platform, he is doing so, it is proper for the media to hold him to account for his actions and decisions,” Mr Isiguzo said.
Mr Isiguzo said the former minister’s reaction to the reporter’s question was against “simple decorum and civility” and, therefore, “unacceptable, dishonourable and reprehensible”.
He demanded a retraction from him
Mr Fani-Kayode on Wednesday morning retracted his remarks against the Daily Trust reporter.
“I met with my advisors and I wish to say the following. I hereby withdraw the word ‘stupid’ which I used in my encounter with a journalist in Calabar,” he said in a Twitter post.
In the latest video, Mr Fani-Kayode is shown telling an unidentified reporter that the question he asked was “stupid” and “very insulting” to him. “If I had known that this is what you wanted to ask me, I would have asked you not to ask me that kind of stupid question,” he said.
Like what happened in the Calabar incident, Mr Fani-Kayode kept yelling at the reporter who is not seen in the video.
The reporter tried to give some clarification to his question but was prevented from doing so by Mr Fani-Kayode.
“I have been in politics since 1990. I was brought into politics by Marafan Sokoto, you understand me? Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi… I have been in politics for many years, I have been in this thing. I have been a minister twice. I have been spokesman to a president for three years and I have been a leading member of the opposition, the resistance over the last five years.
“And a day has not passed that I have not spoken about what I felt was going wrong in this country. That is because that is what opposition is meant to do and is what was done to the PDP by the APC when PDP was in power. You understand me?
While Mr Fani-Kayode was yelling, the reporter cut in and tried to explain the question he asked. Mr Fani-Kayode prevented him. “Even for you to repeat that to me is insulting at my level,” the former minister told him.
“I will speak against Yari free of charge any day, anytime. I am FFK, do you understand me?”
The former minister in his remarks here was referring to Abdulaziz Yari, a former governor of Zamfara state.
Mr Fani-Kayode, in the video, said he did not know Mr Yari in person and would not be able to identify him if the former governor were to walk into a place he (Fani-Kayode) was.
He said his attitude towards the former governor predates the election of Bello Matawalle as the current governor of Zamfara.
“I take on presidents, I don’t take on former governors. He (Yari) is an irritant to me,” he said.
Emmanuel Owabor, a media aide to Mr Fani-Kayode, told PREMIUM TIMES, Wednesday, the incident happened in Zamfara State in August after the former minister was bestowed with a traditional title in the state.
He said he did not, however, know the name of the reporter that was involved and the media house he worked for.
Mr Owabor said Mr Fani-Kayode’s response to the reporter was “apt” because of the question he asked.
“The reporter was asking why he (Fani-Kayode) was always against Yari, the former governor of Zamfara State; he was asking if he was sponsored or not to attack Yari,” Mr Owabor said.
“I am sure, knowing him (Fani-Kayode) too well, if that question is repeated in that same manner, the response is not going to differ from what you heard.
“Anyone who wants to know the truth should go and watch the full clip of that video,” he added.