Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister of aviation, has threatened to institute a law suit against the management of Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust, and one Iliyasu Gadu, a columnist, over an opinion article published by the newspaper.
Daily Trust had published the article titled “FFK, The Drug Addled Thug In Designer Wears” authored by Gadu following controversies that trailed the former minister who hurled abusive words at a journalist during a press conference in Calabar.
Charles Eyo, a reporter with Daily Trust, had asked the ex-minister if his recent tour of some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) states were being sponsored and Fani-Kayode flew into a rage describing the reporter as “very stupid”.
Naziru Abubakar, executive director/editor-in-chief of Daily Trust, said the attack on the reporter who was doing his job “is an indication of the chilling disregard he (FFK) has towards the media, and its work in investigating and reporting on issues”.
Following widespread criticism from many Nigerians and groups, with at least two chapters of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) boycotting his activities, Fani-Kayode eventually apologised to the reporter.
However, in two separate letters dated August 31 and addressed to Gadu and Daily Trust, the ex-minister through his counsel, Adeola Adedipe, demanded a retraction of the said article.
Adedipe said the article described his client as “a dirty person and drug addict, a man of low esteem without dignity or reputation, a pariah and disgrace to his state of origin”.
He also stated that Gadu opined that FFK “lacks character training in the best traditions of an English man and therefore unfit to be an alumnus of the prestigious Cambridge University and University of London”.
He added that the article described his client as “not fit to have been called to the Nigerian bar, not worthy to hold any political office, and he is an endangered specie which should be avoided by all and sundry, particularly journalists”.
The lawyer said the publication has “misrepresented our client in the public glare, by deliberately infusing false, dishonest and untrue assertions about him into the minds of right thinking members of the society.”
“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,” he said.
“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 six billion naira, being a token amount for magma as opposed to the magnitude of infraction caused to our client’s nobility.”
Adedipe added that failure to comply with the request stated in the letter within 14 days, his client will seek redress in court.