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My reaction was disproportionate and unduly harsh, Fani-Kayode apologises to NUJ

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FEMI Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation on Saturday, apologised to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), over his verbal attack on Charles Eyo, a journalist with Daily Trust, at a press conference in Calabar, Cross River State.

The ex-minister had been on a tour of some  South-South states controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and was holding a press conference in Calabar to talk on what he saw during the tour.

But a question by the journalist about who was bankrolling the tour drew the ire of Fani-Kayode who said he was stupid for daring to asking him such question.

In a letter to the NUJ, Fani-Kayode described his reaction to the Daily Trust journalist as “disproportionate and unduly harsh”.

“I wish to convey my regrets to the reporter for my response to him and I also wish to express my regrets to the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and members of the Nigerian media, whom I hold in high esteem,” he said.

“I believe that my reaction was disproportionate and unduly harsh even though I felt deeply provoked by the fact that the reporter asserted that I was being bankrolled by somebody for something that I was funding entirely on my own.”

He pleaded with the media to continue their cordial relationship with him as it had been in the past.

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“I do hope that our relationship will continue as it has always been,” the letter read.

“Thanks for your understanding and be rest assured that I not only hold you, your union and your members in high esteem but that I also remain one of those that are committed to Press freedom and free speech in our country.

“I consider myself to be a friend, a supporter and a strong ally of the Nigerian media and my hitherto excellent relationship with members of your organisation and your colleagues spanning over the last thirty years proves this to be the case. I wish you all the very best,” he said.

Fani-Kayode’s apology comes after the NUJ asked its members not to attend his press conference at Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital on Friday.

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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