By Jonathan Ugbal
Former Aviation Minister, Oluwafemi Fani-Kayode verbally attacked a journalist, Mr. Eyo Charles during his trip to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, a video in circulation shows.
Mr. Charles writes for DailyTrust Newspapers and, alongside a few other journalists, was invited by Mr. Ayade’s spokesman, Christian Ita for a presser with Mr. Fani-Kayode at the Governor’s Mega Hilton Hotel in Calabar on Friday, August 22, 2020 after touring some projects initiated by the Ayade’s administration.
The presser was going well until Mr. Charles ask a question which made Mr. Fani-Kayode flip and embark on a two minute long barrage of insults on the journalist while colleagues listened on.
“I am saying this on live Tv, no put that thing down (referring to a man holding a smartphone and filming) let me address this… What type of stupid question is that? What type of stupid question is that? Bankrolling who? Do you know who you are talking to? (Turns and looks at the Press Secretary, Mr. Ita) I will not take any questions from this man. What type of insulting question is that?” Fani-Kayode said.
Mr. Charles said he had asked who was bank rolling the ex minister’s trips.
“He earlier said that he has visited about dix states and he did not let me finish my question,” Mr. Charles said.
He was going to ask; “Who is bankrolling the trips you have embarked on so far?” But, Fani-Kayode cut him short.
The former minister first asked Mr. Charles to go report himself to the his publisher and later warned him sternly not to imply such, describing him as rude.
He screamed, “Which bankroll? To do what? Who can give me money for anything? Who do you think you are talking to? Bankroll what? Go and report yourself to your publisher. Bankroll what? Please don’t insult me here.”
At this point, Mr. Ita stood up and tried to defuse the situation while Mr. Charles sat down. But, Mr. Fani-Kayode continued his barrage of insults on Mr. Charles while his colleagues including correspondents for AIT, Channels Television, Leadership, NAN, NTA, FRCN among others sat down and watched helplessly.
“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 are talking to? Bankroll what?,” Fani-Kayode said.
“You think I am one of those ones you will be… from who? From how? when? Where? 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 am not one of these 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, you!
“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. Bankroll how? Don’t ever suggest that to me,” he said.
Mr. Ita apologized once more on behalf of Mr. Charles and Fani-Kayode replied: “I am sorry that was deeply insulting, I don’t often get annoyed in press conferences. I have been doing this type of thing for very many 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 ooo. See me very well, don’t ever. Alright? I have a short fuse, okay? Don’t!
“Try it with others, don’t, I won’t say ah nah, I will hit you hard. And if anybody sent you to ask that question, I will give you bargain, go and tell them you got more than you bargained for to do it. Very rude. It is not the standard of Daily Trust at all and I will report you to your publisher.”
Mr. Charles said that he was later informed that Mr. Fani-Kayode called his publisher requesting that he should be disciplined while a police officer attached to him also approached him cautioning him against such questions.
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