Controversial Nigerian politician and former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode arrived Uyo, Akwa Ibom, on Wednesday, for the continuation of his private tour of projects embarked upon by state governments in the South-South.
But he may be having it difficult talking to the press about his tour of Akwa Ibom, as journalists in the state have taken a decision to boycott any activity that Mr Fani-Kayode is involved in as retaliation for his recent verbal attack against a Daily Trust reporter, Eyo Charles, in Calabar, Cross River state.
Mr Fani-Kayode, during the press briefing which was held in a private hotel and moderated by Governor Ben Ayade’s spokesperson, Christian Ita, told Mr Charles he was “stupid” for asking him who was “bankrolling” his tour.
“In line with the disposition of the national leadership of our great Union, the State Council has directed that no journalist should attend a media parley with Femi Fani-Kayode or any of his activity at any location in Akwa Ibom State,” the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Akwa Ibom State Council, said in a statement, Friday morning.
“The NUJ is not part of the visit.”
The statement was signed by the NUJ Chairman, Amos Etuk, and the Secretary, Dominic Akpan.
Mr Etuk told PREMIUM TIMES that journalists in the state did not need Mr Fani-Kayode to tell them about Governor Udom Emmanuel’s performance. “We already know the governor’s performance and we are satisfied with it,” he said.
Abasifreke Effiong, the managing editor of the Dune newspaper, Uyo, said journalists in Nigeria must stand up for one another against people who are out to insult them and denigrate the profession.
“Whatever action NUJ in Akwa Ibom State takes in relation to FFK’s visit to the state will go a long way in defining our self-worth as professionals and (will) shape the way other members of the public will deal with us going forward,” Mr Effiong added.
Meanwhile, the NUJ in Cross River State has “blacklisted” the Cross River state government over the Fani-Kayode incident.
The union, which also “blacklisted” Mr Fani-Kayode, took the decision after an emergency congress on Thursday.
A communique issued after the union congress, said the press briefing where Mr Fani-Kayode attacked the Daily Trust reporter was an “illegal one” by the Cross River government.
The communique was signed by the NUJ Chairman in Cross River state, Victor Ndu; the State Secretary of NUJ, Oka Ibor; and the Chairman of the Communique Drafting Committee, Richard Ndome.
The union said it was sending a letter to media organisations, asking them to pull their reporters out of the Government House, Calabar, and also for them to stop covering the activities of the state government until “the issue is resolved”.
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“Congress restates its total support for and stand with the Daily Trust correspondent, Eyo Charles on the question that resulted to the unprovoked outburst (from Fani-Kayode).
“Congress also directs the State Council to issue warning letters to members who attended the press conference and did not do anything to protect their colleague after which each of them is to individually write an apology letter through the State Council to the National Leadership of the Union with a firm promise never to violate the rules and regulations guiding the journalism practice.
“Congress hereby resolve that henceforth all press briefings by any individual(s), public or private organisations must be held at the NUJ Press Centre, unless as may be directed by the State Council,” the communique said.