The Daily Trust’s South-south reporter, Eyo Charles, who was recently insulted by the former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, for asking a question during a press conference in Cross River, said he has forgiven Mr Fani-Kayode.
Mr Charles, who likened the encounter to sacrificial suffering any Christian must face in life, also said Mr Fani-Kayode “is doing the work of God”.
The ex-minister, who is currently in Akwa Ibom, has over the past few weeks toured some states including Cross River, where Mr Charles is based and Zamfara, to ‘inspect’ some projects completed by the state governors.
He has been criticised by many Nigerians, who wonder what authority empowers him to embark on inspection tours which are usually carried out by state officials.
While in Cross River, the journalist had asked Mr Fani-Kayode who was ‘bankrolling’ (sponsoring) his trips. An infuriated Mr Fani-Kayode reacted with insults, including calling the reporter ‘stupid’.
Journalists were further shocked when the reporter apologised in the midst of the tirade and his colleagues did not intervene but rather condemned him for asking the question.
Nigerians, including the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Media Trust (publishers of Daily Trust) and civil society outfits condemned the action of the ex-minister.
Amnesty International also criticised the attack in a statement.
Although Mr Fani-Kayode was initially defiant in a statement he released same day, saying he did not need to apologise, he later said he regretted the incident.
Two videos later emerged in the social media which showed Mr Fani-Kayode also insulting reporters in previous encounters.
‘I have forgiven him’
Mr Charles, who is a member of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, said he has forgiven the ex-official.
In two posts he issued on his Facebook page on Friday, he said held no grudges against Mr Fani-Kayode.
“Didn’t our Lord Jesus Christ suffer much more humiliation even to the point of death yet He forgave His tormentors and accusers. Who am I that I will not forgive my elder brother, Femi FaniKayode!. He is doing the work of God,” Mr Charles wrote.
In another post, he said: “The scriptures say in all things, Give Glory To God!”
Nigerians still infuriated
Bur Nigerians appear to have taken up the challenge to know the source of funding which has allowed the ex-minister take an expensive tour around the country.
Mr Fani-Kayode, who is currently in Akwa-Ibom on another tour, received a torrent of comments from angry Nigerians after he posted his exit from Cross Rivers on his Facebook page.
He said: “Left Calabar, Cross Rivers state yesterday afternoon after having a wonderful time. Thanks to Governor Ben Ayade, his Government and the people of Cross Rivers state for showing my delegation and I so much love and warmth.
“Calabar is a beautiful place and the people are hardworking, resilient, kind and accommodating. They also know how to have fun and party and they have the best cooks and food in Nigeria! I felt as if I had lived there all my life even though this was my first visit.
I am glad that I spent a few extra days there than originally planned in order to have a well deserved rest.
“Now my tour continues. God be with us all as we move from state to state. ❤❤❤?????????”
His arrival in Akwa-Ibom equally attracted caustic comments over the source of funding and reasons for the trips.
His remarks in both posts attracted a barrage of comments, mostly uncomplimentary.
Ufedo Umaido: “If you cannot tells us who is bankrolling you, just off your mic & calm down. That you spend your money on feeding, accommodation, fuelling and other logistics.”
Uzoma Chijoke: “Who is bankrolling you?”
Abiodun Kolawole: “Sir, you need to answer that simple question the journalist asked you because, i know that this your tour have skeleton.”
Tesi Owelor: “Oga, who’s bankrolling your nationwide tour?”
Messe Ebeirin: “He’s rich enough to bankroll his tour?? That was what got him angry.
Franca Okafor: “Now that you have calmed down, can you go ahead and tell us who bankrolled the trip??”
Tunde Owoeye: Just touring for no reason uhh? You better tell us who is bankrolling you Mr do you know whom I am?”
Flexi St Michael: “When did FFK turned to the inspector?”
Abikoye Bosun: “Mr ffk sir, our question still continue oo. Who’s bankrolling ur tour? And of what purpose is your tour sef gangan. LolIsrael Sunday: “What is the motive behind this tour?”