The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has directed its members across Nigeria, particularly the Akwa-Ibom State chapter to boycott the former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani Kayode’s visit to the state after verbally assaulting a Daily Trust reporter, Eyo Charles, who asked him a question at a press conference in Calabar, Cross River State.
Trouble started after a video emanated on Tuesday showing the former minister, who began a tour of some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) states in July, visited Cross River recently, flew into a rage shortly after Eyo asked him a question on his visit.
Following his outburst, Nigerians including bodies like the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ), Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Transparency International, Daily Trust Media limited publisher of Daily Trust Newspaper, among others condemned his action and asked the minister to retract his statement and publicly apologized to the journalist.
But, not satisfied with his veil apology, the body directed its chapter in Akwa Ibom to boycott any activities of the former minister who arrived the state in continuation of his South-South tour.
Through a communique issued and circulated to all its chapels on Friday, in Calabar, after its emergency congress on Thursday, the body said that the directive was in line with decision from the national leadership of the union and exhaustive deliberations and contributions from members the congress.
The Cross River chapter of NUJ, in a communique signed by its chairman, Victor Udu, and Secretary, Oka Ibor, while condemning Fani-Kayode for his outburst also blacklisted the Cross River State government from any media coverage by all NUJ members.
“Congress condemns the verbal insult and abuse from FFK and noted that such words could only come out of the lips of a frustrated, immature, bankrupt, irresponsible, and unsteady mind and accordingly blacklisted the former minister of aviation from all media activities in the state.
“Congress further blacklist the government of cross river state from any media coverage by all members of Nigeria Union of Journalist in the state for organizing an illegal press conference thereby creating a platform for FFK to abuse and insult a journalist, Mr. Eyo Charles of the Daily Trust Newspaper.
“It mandated the state council to immediately communicate in writing to all media organizations to withdraw their correspondents from Government House and stop them from covering or reporting any activity of the state government until the issue is resolved. Congress restates its total support for and stands with the Daily Trust Correspondent, Eyo Charles on the question that resulted in the unprovoked outburst.
“Congress also directs that 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 violet the rules and regulations building the journalism practice.
“Congress hereby resolves that henceforth all press briefing by any individual(s), public or private organizations must be held at the NUJ press centers, unless as may be directed by the state council. It warned that any journalist that organizes or attends any press briefing not approved by the state council shall be sanctioned.
“In line with NEC resolution on the proscription of beats, congress directs the immediate proscription of the illegally operated Cross River state government House press corps. Congress hereby thank the national leadership of the NUJ, Management of Daily Trust Newspaper, Civil Societies, Community-Based and Faith-based Organization, religious leaders, members of local and international organizations, groups, and individuals for defending the truth.” the communique read.