‘I Disappointed Myself’: Fani-Kayode Apologises For Harassing Journalist In Calabar

Femi Fani-Kayode held a press conference in Akwa Ibom on August 28, 2020.
Femi Fani-Kayode held a press conference in Akwa Ibom on August 28, 2020.

 

Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has apologised for his outburst towards a journalist during a recent press conference in Calabar.

Fani Kayode also apologised to the Nigeria Union of Journalists, family members, friends, and colleagues of the Daily Trust reporter.

Speaking on Friday during a press conference at the Government House in Uyo, the ex-minister said he disappointed himself and everyone, noting that his reaction was undefendable.

READ ALSO: Court Reinstates Three Suspended Ondo Assembly Members

“I’m deeply sorry for the manner I reacted to the said reporter. I was too hard on him. The question was mischievous, but I fell for it,” he said.

“I should have been smarter than that. I am using this opportunity to reach out to him, and I hope he will be kind enough to forgive me.”

“I disappointed myself, my family and friends, my colleagues, and even my bosses, those who hold me in high esteem.

“I have regrets, it was not my finest day. No leader or public figure should ever react like that. I disappointed myself. I deeply regret it and I believe it will never happen again.”

This comes barely three days after Fani-Kayode branded the reporter ‘stupid’.

The reporter had asked Fani-Kayode who was “bankrolling” his recent tour of several southern states, a question that irked the ex-minister.

The NUJ and Daily Trust had condemned Fani-Kayode for his comments.

Journalist, Health Worker Among New COVID-19 Cases In Ondo

A government health worker shows a Covid-19 test. TARSO SARRAF / AFP

 

 

No fewer than 19 new confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) were recorded in Ondo State in the last 12 days.

The state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, disclosed this on Monday while briefing reporters on the pandemic in Akure, the state capital.

He noted that his administration was expending more energy and resources in improving the capacity of the Infectious Disease Hospitals to cope with the challenges.

The new cases included a journalist, a healthcare worker, and an American citizen who was prevented from travelling back to the United States due to the lockdown.

“We now have 43 total confirmed cases,” said Akeredolu. “The local government areas with confirmed cases are Akure South (22), Odigbo (three), Owo (three), Ose (three), Akure North (two), Ondo West (five), Okitipupa (two), Akoko South East (one), Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo (one), Ifedore (one).”

Governor Akeredolu added that 14 patients were one admission, seven dead, and 22 others have recovered and been discharged.

He revealed that the cases were among the 568 total suspected cases reported, although 663 samples were collected and 655 laboratory results have been received.

According to the governor, the government is tracing 113 contacts of infected patients and the journalist is the 32nd confirmed case.

On the other hand, he explained that the American citizen who is of Akure origin came home to visit his family and was caught up in Nigeria by the lockdown.

“Having been home for not less than two months, he fell ill sometimes last week, showing symptoms of COVID-19. He was immediately taken to the hospital where he was referred to the UNIMEDTH Ondo for further examination.

“His sample was taken to confirm his COVID-19 status. He died before his result came,” Governor Akeredolu revealed.

He added, “The 34th case, 54, is a female healthcare worker who works in a private facility and presented with a runny nose.”

The governor, therefore, urged the residents to adhere to the precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19.

He listed them to include social and physical distancing, use of facemasks, washing of hands with water and soap, use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser, as well as travel restrictions.

Mozambique Reporter Still Missing As Authorities Offer No Help

 

Media rights groups have been pressuring the Maputo government to help locate a Mozambique journalist who went missing one month ago in jihadist-hit Cabo Delgado province, as friends and relatives begin to fear the worst.

Community radio journalist Ibraimo Abu Mbaruco disappeared on April 7, in the northern district of Palma — the epicentre of attacks by Islamist militants seeking to establish a caliphate.

Mbaruco went missing on his way home from the radio station in the evening, shortly after texting a colleague to say he was surrounded by military forces.

The journalist, who is in his thirties, reported on daily life in Palma, including the insurgency — which the government had denied until late last month.

“It has been a very long time since he has disappeared,” said one of Mbaruco’s colleagues, who did not want to be named.

“We are beginning to fear that something worse has happened to him.”

The government has not officially commented on the case.

Police in Cabo Delgado have repeatedly said they know nothing about Mbaruco’s whereabouts or the circumstances of his disappearance.

“We have no information about him yet,” police spokesman Augusto Guta told AFP on Friday. “As soon as we know something we’ll tell the press.”

One week after Mbaruco went missing, Guta told reporters “family sources” had suggested the journalist was dead, adding that police were unable to verify it.

– Letters to the President –

The Mozambique branch of the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) on Friday said it has been lobbying President Filipe Nyusi to ask for support in searching for Mbaruco.

The group, which advocates for press freedom in southern Africa, has also approached the national police chief without avail.

“MISA Mozambique triggered a series of processes to locate and release the journalist, including addressing a letter to President Nyusi,” the group said in a statement.

MISA met Nyusi on April 27, after which they were asked to “refer the case to the Attorney General”.

According to the statement, police sources told MISA that Mbaruco was “taken by military personnel” to “interrogation barracks” in the northern Mueda district.

Another group of journalists told AFP they were also referred to the public prosecutor after writing to Nyusi.

“We are sure that Ibraimo has been kidnapped by the military,” said Mbaruco’s colleague.

He compared the case to that of another community radio journalist, Amade Abubacar, who was kidnapped by soldiers last year and kept in barracks for over two weeks.

Abubacar was eventually taken to a civil prison and detained for more than three months.

He was accused of publishing classified information regarding the insurgency and charged with crimes against state security.

“That’s how they did it last year with Amade,” said Mbaruco’s colleague, drawing parallels with Abubacar’s ordeal.

‘Taking too long’

“What is strange this time is that it is taking too long to release him to freedom or transfer him to a civilian prison,” he added.

An unnamed police source told AFP Mbaruco was suspected of “collaborating with insurgents”.

“We continue to think that there is a strong probability that he (Mbaruco) is being held by the military,” Reporters Without Borders (RSF)’s Arnaud Froger said via email on Friday.

Froger, who also drew parallels between Mbaruco and Abubacar, added that all possibilities were still being considered.

Since the beginning of military attacks in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province in 2017, at least five journalists including Mbaruco and activists working for Amnesty International have been arrested by government troops.

Islamist fighters have terrorised remote communities in the Muslim-majority northern region.

Locally, members are known as Al-Shabaab, although they have no known links to the group of that name operating in Somalia.

More than 1,100 people have been killed since the start of Cabo Delgado insurgency, including at least 700 civilians, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).

The unrest has forced more than 200,000 people to flee and raised concern among energy giants operating in the gas-rich region.

The Mozambican government admitted the presence of Islamic State militants in the country for the first time after police reported a “massacre” of 52 villagers who had refused to be recruited into the ranks of the shadowy group.

“The silence coming from the highest authorities is extremely worrying,” said Froger.

“In this province, the situation is such that journalists have as many reasons to fear violence linked to the Islamic insurgency as the threat of being kidnapped by soldiers in their own country.”

Journalist Arrested By Army In Maiduguri Regains Freedom

New Salary Scale Has Not Been Approved For Armed Forces – DHQ
A file photo of troops.

 

 

A journalist reporting for Daily Trust Newspaper, Omirin Olatunji, has regained his freedom hours after he was whisked away by personnel of the Nigerian Army in Borno State.

Olatunji was picked up at about 4:40pm on Thursday while hanging out with colleagues at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) along Lagos Street in Maiduguri, the state capital.

Channels Television gathered that the arrest was carried out by two plain cloth army personnel and a soldier in camouflage carrying an assault rifle – AK 47.

The reporter was handcuffed in the presence of other journalists and dragged into a waiting car without offering explanations after which the vehicle zoomed off.

Confirming the arrest, Borno NUJ said the military authorities in the state contacted them that Olatunji had been arrested and was on his way to the barracks.

The spokesperson for the 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Colonel Ado Isa, also told Channels Television that the Theatre Commander was having talks with the leadership of the NUJ with a view to resolving the impasse.

 

A Trample On Dignity

Following the reporter’s release, the NUJ condemned Olatunji’s arrest in a statement, saying the military’s action was detrimental to the operation of free democracy.

It also described it as a trample on the dignity of professional journalists, saying the arrest was a repeat of a similar incident about the same time in 2019.

The statement was jointly signed by the NUJ chairman and secretary in the state, Bulama Talba and Mohammed Ibrahim, respectively.

It read, “We the members of the Pen profession in Borno State have been and will continue to live up to our responsibilities of informing the government and citizens on happenings as a way of promoting the safety of all and improve living conditions at all times.

“The union members from various media have been, with all sense of responsibility, carrying out duties to put issues in the right perspectives for proper agenda-setting by government and the military and mobilising the citizenry to support programmes and operations that follow,  which Olatunji Omirin has been doing remarkably well.

“NUJ feels it is quite unfortunate that this is happening now when we all need to be on the same page to move our country from armed conflict to peaceful resolutions of disputes for development to thrive instead of playing into the wishes of elements that promote discord in the nation.

“We can do better by calling concerned media organisations, NUJ, as well as other stakeholders for regular interactions on finding common ground on the way forward beyond this modus operandi.”

Morocco Jails Youtuber, Detains Journalist

Vice Principal Gets Life Imprisonment For Raping 12-Year-Old In Ekiti
File Photo

 

A Moroccan YouTuber was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for “insulting the king” in a video broadcast on social networks, his lawyer said.

In a separate case, a Moroccan journalist and activist was charged and detained over a tweet that had criticised a court decision, his defence council told AFP.

The cases come after the Moroccan Human Rights Association had deplored in July an “escalation of violations of human rights and public and individual freedoms” in Morocco.

The YouTuber Mohamed Sekkaki, known as “Moul Kaskita”, was sentenced by a court in the western city of Settat to four years in prison, his lawyer Mohamed Ziane told AFP.

Sekkaki, whose videos usually exceed 100,000 views, was arrested in early December after posting a video in which he insulted Moroccans as “donkeys” and criticised King Mohammed VI, whose is considered “inviolable” under the constitution.

Ziani said his client would appeal the verdict.

The conviction of the YouTuber came less than a month after a Moroccan rapper was sentenced to a year in prison for “insulting a public official”.

Also on Thursday, journalist Omar Radi, 33, was detained in Casablanca and now faces trial, his lawyer Said Benhammani told AFP.

He is being prosecuted for a tweet published nine months ago criticising the judge in charge of the case against the leaders of the Hirak protest movement, he said.

Morocco’s criminal code punishes “insulting magistrates” with imprisonment of between one month and one year.

The group Reporters Without Borders in its latest annual press freedom index ranked Morocco 135th out of 180 countries.

Morocco Pardons Journalist Jailed For Abortion

Morocco Rejoins African Union

 

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI on Wednesday issued a royal pardon for journalist Hajar Raissouni, overturning a court sentence for an “illegal abortion” and sexual relations outside marriage, the justice ministry said.

The 28-year-old will walk free “in the coming hours”, while sentences handed down to her fiance, gynaecologist, anaesthetist and a medical assistant were also overturned, an official told AFP.

Morocco Journalist Gets 1-Year Jail For ‘Illegal Abortion’

Vice Principal Gets Life Imprisonment For Raping 12-Year-Old In Ekiti
File Photo

 

A Rabat court on Monday sentenced Moroccan journalist Hajar Raissouni to one year in jail for having had an “illegal abortion” and sexual relations outside marriage.

Her gynaecologist was sentenced to two years and her Sudanese fiance one year in prison, while an anaesthetist was handed a one-year suspended sentence and a medical assistant eight months, also suspended.

Lawyers for 28-year-old Raissouni had called for her acquittal during the trial, denying she had had an abortion.

A journalist for Akhbar Al-Yaoum — an Arabic-language newspaper which has a history of run-ins with the authorities — she was sentenced under Article 490 of Morocco’s legal code.

That article punishes sexual relations out of wedlock, while the law also forbids all abortions unless the mother’s life is in danger.

Raissouni was arrested on August 31 as she left a clinic in Rabat.

In court, she denied having had an abortion and said she had been treated for internal bleeding — testimony backed up by her gynaecologist.

The journalist denounced a “political trial”, saying she had been questioned by police about her family — including an uncle who is an outspoken Islamist newspaper columnist — and about her own writing.

The prosecution insisted she had been seen by a medic and showed signs of pregnancy and of having undergone a “late voluntary abortion”.

It had contended her detention had “nothing to do with her profession as a journalist”.

Abducted Wife Of Nasarawa Journalist, Others Regain Freedom

 

The wife of a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Nasarawa State, Mrs Yahanasu Abubakar, and three other women who were abducted have been released.

They were abducted on Wednesday after gunmen attacked their vehicle along the Gudi-Garaku road in Akwanga Local Government Area of the state while they were on their way to Lafia, the capital.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Abduct Journalist’s Wife, Three Other Women In Nasarawa

The gunmen said to be over 30, were said to have shot at the vehicle conveying the women from Keffi, where Yahanasu had gone to register for the Batch A Corps at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp.

They shot sporadically in the air few, metres from a police checkpoint and forcefully made away with the women.

While it is not yet clear if a ransom was paid to secure their release, the Chairman, NUJ Correspondent Chapel, Mr Suleiman Abubakar, confirmed the development to Channels Television.

Gunmen Abduct Journalist’s Wife, Three Other Women In Nasarawa

 

The wife of a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Nasarawa State, Mrs Yahanasu Abubakar, and three other women have been abducted by gunmen.

Mr Suleiman Abubakar, who is the Chairman of Correspondents’ Chapel of NUJ in the state, confirmed the incident to Channels Television.

He said the women were abducted by the gunmen following an attack on Wednesday evening along the Gudi-Garaku Road in Akwanga Local Government Area on their way to Lafia, the state capital.

According to Abubakar, the assailants shot at the union’s bus conveying the victims from Keffi, where his wife had gone to register at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp.

He explained that their bus ran into a ditch after they were chased by gunmen numbering more than 30.

READ ALSOMan Gets Death Sentence For Killing Ex-Deputy Governor’s Daughter

The journalist added that the gunmen shot sporadically in the air few metres from a police checkpoint and forcefully made away with his wife and the other women into the bush.

The other victims included the wife of a former member of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, whom they had given a lift, as well as two other women from another vehicle.

Abubakar said the gunmen have demanded N5 million from him before his wife would regain freedom.

The State Police Command has also confirmed the incident to Channels Television.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Samaila Usman, said the command had already mobilised officers to the area for a search and rescue operation.

Outrage In Ghana Over Death Of Investigative Journalist

Ghanaian Flag

A Ghanian undercover journalist who helped expose corruption in African football has been shot dead in the capital, triggering widespread outrage and demands for authorities to bring his killers to justice.

Ahmed Husein, 34, was gunned down as he returned to his home in the Madina area of Accra on Wednesday night.

The reporter was part of a team led by award-winning journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, whose probe last year led to the resignation of the head of the Ghana Football Association and the banning of dozens of football referees and officials.

Last year Husein filed a complaint with police after a prominent lawmaker from President Nana Akufo-Addo’s ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) threatened him, once calling on television for supporters to beat Hussein while showing the reporter’s photograph.

Police said Husein was shot in the chest and neck. Anas and his Tiger Eye production company said the gunmen fired at close range from a motorbike and he died instantly.

Media organisations and journalists in Ghana on Thursday called for more protection and demanded the government fully investigate.

“We… are terribly devastated by the dastardly act but remain unshaken in our resolve to pursue nation-wreckers and make corruption a high-risk activity,” said Anas.

President Nana Akufo-Addo sent his condolences to Husein’s family and condemned the killing.

“I expect the police to bring to book, as soon as possible, the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” he said in a statement.

Information minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah told reporters violence against journalists would not be tolerated but the government is likely to come under pressure over the killing.

The murder of a journalist is unusual in Ghana, which ranked 23rd out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2018 World Press Freedom Index — up three places on the previous year.

But the revelations about corruption in football rocked Ghana, a country where football is the national sport and which prides itself on being a stable democracy in an often turbulent region.

The president of the Ghana Journalists Association, Affail Monney, said Husein’s killers “must be made to face the full rigours of law”.

He also called on Akufo-Addo to get to the bottom of the killing and urged parliament to “take necessary actions” to improve media and public safety.

“This killing, in addition to rampant assault against journalists in recent times, sends a worrying signal that the media are under serious attack,” he told a news conference.

 Previous threats 

International media watchdog the Committee for the Protection of Journalists called for an immediate investigation and for the authorities “to ensure that threats against the press are taken seriously”.

Husein had made the complaint to police after NPP party member Kennedy Agyapong showed his photograph on a private television channel and promised payment for supporters who took attacked him.

“That boy that’s very dangerous, he lives here in Madina. If he comes here, beat him,” Agyapong said, pointing to a picture of Husein’s face.

In the undercover investigation into football corruption, Agyapong’s name was also mentioned by implicated sporting officials.

Husein’s lawyer, Kissi Agyabeng, said the member of parliament had questions to answer.

Agyapong himself rejected claims that he “engineered the killing” of Husein, telling local radio station Neat FM: “He has never offended me.

“So, they should go and investigate those he has offended not me. He and his boss (Anas) have offended so many people in this country.

“The evil they have been doing will follow them.”

 Media freedom 

RSF has previously condemned threats against Anas after he revealed “threatening calls, intimidation messages and suspicious vehicles near his home”.

The reporter, whose other exposes have lifted the lid on graft in the judicial system, is distinctive for wearing hats and face-coverings to conceal his identity.

World governing body FIFA last October banned former Ghana FA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi for life and fined him nearly $500,000 (439,000 euros) after he was seen on camera accepting bribes.

Nyantakyi was accused of requesting $11 million to secure government contracts.

Eight referees and assistant referees were banned for life while 53 officials were subject to 10-year bans. Fourteen officials were exonerated.

AFP

Investigative Journalist Murdered In Ghana

 

A Ghanaian undercover journalist who helped expose corruption in African football has been shot dead in the capital Accra, police said Thursday.

Ahmed Husein was part of a team led by award-winning journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, whose probe led to the resignation of the head of the Ghana Football Association.

Dozens of football referees and officials were also banned.

A police spokesperson told AFP the journalist was shot in the neck and the chest by unknown gunmen on his way home on Wednesday night.

Confirming the incident, Anas tweeted: “Sad news, but we shall not be silenced. Rest in peace, Ahmed.”

READ ALSO: Church Attacked In Ghana Over Pastor’s Doom Prophesy

Prior to his death, Husein had made a complaint to police after his pictures were published on national television.

Ghana’s national media regulator condemned the killing and called on the police to conduct a thorough investigation.

“It will be in the national interest to arrest the perpetrators of this crime,” the commission’s chairman Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo said in a statement.

Ghanaian journalists condemned the killing of the 34-year-old reporter, who was instrumental in the international football corruption investigation which broke last year.

Football’s world governing body FIFA last October banned former Ghana FA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi for life and fined him nearly $500,000 after he was seen on camera accepting bribes.

Nyantakyi was accused of requesting $11 million (9.3 million euros) to secure government contracts.

Eight referees and assistant referees were banned for life while 53 officials were subject to 10-year bans. Fourteen officials were exonerated.

The revelations rocked Ghana, where football is the national sport and which prides itself as being a stable democracy in an often turbulent region.

Trump Slaps Down Journalist For ‘Stupid’ Question

US President Donald Trump (R) gets into a heated exchange with CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (C) as NBC correspondent Peter Alexander (L) looks on during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2018.

 

President Donald Trump instructed journalists Friday to show more respect in the “sacred” White House and moments later angrily refused to answer a reporter’s question because it was “stupid.”

The latest clash between the president and the press corps assigned to cover him followed a meltdown on Wednesday when Trump lashed out at a star CNN reporter as a “terrible person” and had him barred from the White House.

In Friday’s incident, Abby Phillip, also from CNN, asked Trump whether he wanted his new attorney general to hold back an explosive probe into allegations that the president’s 2016 election campaign colluded with Russian agents.

The topic has been one of the main headlines in Washington since Wednesday when Trump abruptly fired Jeff Sessions as attorney general and named Matthew Whitaker, who has strongly criticized the Russia probe, to replace him. Critics have accused Trump of placing an ally who will try to muzzle special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Trump, speaking just before leaving for an international gathering in Paris to commemorate World War I, refused to answer Phillip.

“What a stupid question that is, what a stupid question. But I watch you a lot. You ask a lot of stupid questions,” he said, shaking a finger at the journalist, then walking away.

Moments earlier he’d defended his decision to bar CNN reporter Jim Acosta following their exchange at Wednesday’s press conference, saying that Acosta “is a very unprofessional guy.”

Asked how long Acosta will be denied the credential allowing him to work inside the White House, Trump said he hadn’t decided and seemed to indicate that the extremely unusual sanction could be applied to more journalists.

“It could be others also,” he said.

Trump went on to refer to another reporter, April Ryan, who works for American Urban Radio Networks and CNN, as “a loser” and “very nasty.”

The president said that the bad blood between him and the media was the fault of journalists showing insufficient deference.

“When you’re in the White House, this is a very sacred place to me. It’s a very special place. You have to treat the White House with respect. You have to treat the presidency with respect,” he said.

AFP