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MRA to Fani-Kayode: Your action is unbefitting of a public figure

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THE Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has condemned the verbal attack on Charles Eyo, Daily Trust journalist,  by Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation at a press conference in Calabar, Cross River State.

In a statement issued by Ayode Longe, MRA’s Director of Programmes, the organisation condemned Fani-Kayode’s action, saying such an action was unbefitting of a public figure like him.

It stated that the former minister should not have called a press conference if he was not willing to subject himself and his actions to scrutiny.

The MRA added that he had no business assessing the performance of anybody when he so strongly resents being asked to account for his actions.

“Mr. Eyo was absolutely within his rights to ask Mr. Fani-Kayode the question that he did. Any public figure of Mr. Fani-Kayode’s standing or any individual for that matter who voluntarily inserts himself into the public arena must expect to be subjected to public scrutiny,” the statement read.

“We applaud the journalist’s professionalism in understanding that he was not there to lap up without question any suspicious claim that the former minister and politician was making. If Mr. Fani-Kayode expected otherwise, then we have no choice but to regard yesterday as a great day for Journalism in Nigeria because he was made to realize that he was sorely mistaken!”

It further noted that instead of being controlled by his emotions, Fani-Kayode should have seized the opportunity the journalist’s question offered to detail the purpose and value of his trip as well as his findings and demonstrate that he was capable of personally funding his trip and not depend on anyone to bankroll it, if that was truly the case.

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“Whenever former or serving public office holders decide to inject themselves into the public space, they are under an obligation at any time to render account of what they have done or are doing and therefore must be ready to respond to unlikely questions like that from Mr. Eyo. A journalist who cannot ask probing questions beyond what is already said is not worth his salt.”

 Fani-Kayode has issued a statement to apologize and retracted his derogatory comments against the journalist. 

He however denied sending anyone to harass the journalist.

The former minister recently went on tour of South South states to assess the performance of governors, although he no longer holds any public office.

He held a press conference at which  Eyo asked him who was bankrolling his trips around Nigeria.

Rather than responding to the question, Fani-Kayode chose to verbally attack the journalist, raising his voice for several minutes and hauling insults at the journalist whom he called “stupid” and “small minded.”

 

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Vincent Ufuoma is a reporter with The ICIR. He is a lover of God, truth, knowledge and justice.

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

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