The Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) and Daily Trust Newspapers have condemned verbal attack and threat meted on its Cross Rivers State Correspondent in a viral video clip by the former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode.
The Paper’s reporter had asked the ex-minister at a press conference of who was bankrolling him to visit some state for projects inspection. Obviously, in the viral video, Kayode picked on the Journalist while throwing vulgar words at the Journalist identified as Eyo Charles.
In a statement by the Union’s National President, Chris Iziguso, said “NUJ condemns the gangster-like outburst by Chief Femi Fani Kayode against the Cross River State Correspondent of the Daily Trust Newspaper, Eyo Charles who asked him a simple question which he felt was embarrassing In his reaction, Kayode assaulted the journalist and threatened him for daring to ask such a question.
“His reaction was totally unacceptable, dishonourable and reprehensible and we demand for retraction or his untoward, irritating and awkward utterances which negate simple decorum and civility. “We are more shocked that the same Kayode who had in recent times, used his social media handles to call leaders to account is at the same time attacking a Journalist for a simple demand for him to unmask those behind his nationwide tour. He had already visited six states. This is indeed, terribly disappointing.
Meanwhile, the management of Daily Trust also condemned the action while describing it “reprehensible”. In a statement by the Paper’s Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief, Naziru Mikailu Abubakar said Kayode’s reaction was an indication that the reporter was doing his job. “Is an indication of the chilling disregard he has towards the media, and its work in investigating and reporting on issues.
“As always, we stand in solidarity with our reporters, and will continue to fight for the rights of all journalists. After all, journalism is part of the bedrock of democracy; therefore practitioners must not be intimidated or threatened as they carry out their work. “We urge the Nigeria Police to take note, that if anything happens to Charles, Daily Trust will hold Fani-Kayode responsible, especially due to the intensity of the verbal threats he issued during the shocking incident.
He said, actions of Fani-Kayode were not only reprehensible, but also constitute a setback to press freedom, in a most dire form. “This kind of assault raises major concerns over the safety of journalists in Nigeria.”