Journalist assaulted by Femi Fani-Kayode regrets apology

Femi Fani-Kayode and Eyo Charles

Eyo Charles, the journalist in a viral video that has emerged of him being verbally assaulted by former aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode, says he regrets apologizing that his question annoyed the former minister.

Fani-Kayode had visited at least seven states across party lines to inspect government projects.

At a briefing at the end of the Fani-Kayode’s tour of Cross River to inspect Gov Ben Ayade’s projects, Daily Trust Calabar correspondent Charles asked about the funding for the tour. The venue was at Ayade’s private hotel.

A moderator had earlier suggested the questioning be limited to Fani-Kayode comments on the projects he had visited.

Fani-Kayode is reported to have said, “There is no problems at all. They should ask any manners [of] questions”, insisting he is “equal to the ask”, according to Charles.

“When I was recognised, I asked, ‘Sir, please you did not disclose to us who is bankrolling you….”

“FFK did not allow me to land with the question when he threw caution to the wind and shouted at me, and said the press briefing was over.”

What transpired has since emerged in the viral video in which “the ex-minister is claiming I was rude to him.”

Charles continued to receive further threaten even after the incident was over.

He said a “security aide” to Fani-Kayode accosted him, saying, “What effrontery do you have to ask such a stupid question, and what was my next action?”

“Sensing how tensed up the atmosphere was, I said to the man, ‘I had apologized to the ex-minister. If the usage of the word ‘bankroll’ was offensive to him, then i withdraw it. What more should I do?’ I then sneaked away.

Charles says the claim that he was rude to Fani-Kayode is not true.

“I have a modest background and well trained as a high priest to respect people of all standing. Please note too that I am a Bishop in the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, which exalted stand can never allow me to descend to insulting public figures or anyone.

“This is also to colleagues that have called to express unhappiness that I did not ‘give it back to FFK.”

He added, “I am 53, he is not much older than me. I am not a child, I am an adult and I have children.”

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“I have never approved a single contract not even one kilometre for the NDDC,” Akpabio said while responding to questions by the House of Representatives committee probing the financial misappropriation at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.