FORMER aviation minister Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has sent a libel letter to the Daily Trust newspaper warning that he will sue the publication over a recent article in which he was described as a drug-addled thug in designer wears.
On August 25, Chief Fani-Kayode addressed a press conference during a trip to Cross River State and during the briefing was asked if there was anyone funding his trip. Rather than answer the question, the former minister exploded, calling the journalist stupid, saying it was insulting for him to be asked if he was being bankrolled by anyone.
Giving the journalist, Eyo Charles, a severe dressing down for daring to put such a question to him, Chief Fani-Kayode said he is not poor and never has been, so cannot be bought by anyone. His rant has attracted widespread condemnation, with the Nigeria Union of Journalists expressing its disgust at the incident and the management of Daily Trust threatening to report the matter to the police if any harm came to its reporter.
Since then, Chief Fani-Kayode has apologised for his actions but the condemnation of his conduct has not stopped. Daily Trust also published article written by Iliyasu Gadu, which described Chief Fani-Kayode as a drug-addled thug in designer wears.
In a letter dated August 31 titled Re: Defamation of the character of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, Adeola Adedipe of Ahmed Raji and co, the former minister’s lawyers demanded N6bn compensation for damages suffered in the article. It read: “Our client’s attention has been drawn to a spurious publication that was made at your instance, on 30th August 2020, under the caption: FFK, The drug-addled thug in designer wears’ on the Daily Trust print media and the online platform.
“In that hateful and malicious publication, you consciously elected to denigrate our client, in the manner hereunder summarised as follows – That he is a dirty person and drug addict, he is a man of low esteem without dignity or reputation, that he is a pariah and disgrace to his state of origin, he lacks character training in the best traditions of an English man and therefore unfit to be an alumnus of the prestigious Cambridge University and the University of London and he is not fit to have been called to the Nigerian Bar, as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria among other assertions.
“It is our instruction to intimate you of this grievous breach on the character and hard-earned reputation of our client with patent collateral damage on his pedigree. Be aware that our client has not only suffered an immeasurable loss of goodwill but he is currently confronted with unbearable opprobrium by his fans, followers and colleagues across the globe.
“Our client is alive to his rights, both in law and equity but is disposed to afford you an opportunity to undo the evil you have done by retracting the said insalubrious remarks on the same platform it was published and apologising to him in two other national dailies. You are also advised to enter into negotiations with us for the sum of N6bn, being a token amount for penitence as opposed to the magnitude of infraction caused to our client’s nobility.”