The Oranmiyan Dynasty Organisation (ODORG), a Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, has added its voice to the ongoing condemnations of vituperations poured on a Daily Trust Correspondent, Eyo Charles, by Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, and asked for a blackout of his activities in the media by practising journalists in the country.
ODORG, in a statement issued by its Conveber, Hon Jimoh Ibrahim, said “it is uncharitable and rude, for a man of Fani-Kayode’s stature to call any journalist stupid, simply for doing his job.”
According to him, “the media has a vital role to play as ‘public watchdog’ in imparting information of serious public concern and should not be inhibited or intimidated from playing that role.
A video being circulated via WhatsApp showed Fani-Kayode leaving a media briefing after pouring invectives on the reporter, whom he said, asked him an ‘insulting’ question.
During the roundtable, the journalist asked Fani-Kayode who was bankrolling his recent trips around Nigeria, to which the former minister responded with a raised voice, and eventually a threat on the reporter.
However, the former Minister of Aviation and member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Fani-Kayode, has responded to the event in Calabar, saying: “I have no apology to offer for it,’ even as he later apologized after he said he had consulted with his advisors
Meanwhile, ODORG commended the management of Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust and other titles, for backing the reporter.
In a statement signed by Naziru Mikailu Abubakar, Executive Director/Editor-in-Chief, the paper held that: “Fani-Kayode’s attack on a reporter 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.”
Abubakar asked 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.”
ODORG holds that the actions of Fani-Kayode are not only reprehensible, but also constitute a setback to press freedom, in a most dire form, stressing that. his misgiving raises major concerns over the safety of journalists in Nigeria.