FEMI Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation has apologised to Charles Eyo, a Daily Trust reporter he verbally assaulted during a press conference, saying that his response was disproportionate and unduly harsh.
He also apologised to the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in a letter titled “Expression of Regret.”
Fani-Kayode came under criticism following his outburst against the journalist when the latter asked him who was bankrolling his tour of projects in the South South states.
The incident was captured in a viral video which prompted Akwa Ibom State Chapter of NUJ to direct its members to boycott a press conference by the former minister.
But in his letter on Saturday, Fani-Kayode said, ” 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.”
“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 also expressed hope that his relationship with the media would continue after his apology.
“I do hope that our relationship will continue as it has always been.”
After coming under attacks from the national body of NUJ and Nigerians, Fani-Kayode had withdrawn the word ‘stupid’ he used against the journalist but didn’t feel sorry for his action until the call for the boycott of his future press conferences.
“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 is committed to press freedom and free speech in our country,” he said in the letter.
“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.”