A Nigerian youth group, Youths For Change NG, has called on the government and the media to hold former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, to account for his “ranting and increasingly unsubstantiated allegations” which it said bordered on hate speech.
The group’s National Leader, Seun Bobade, made their position known via a statement on Thursday in Ilorin.
Bobade criticized the former minister “for his ranting and increasingly unsubstantiated allegations’’ which he said were becoming an embarrassment, particularly to youths who had seen him as role model.
He therefore urged the media to always ask Fani-Kayode to substantiate his allegations.
He said the media should have asked the former minister to substantiate the allegation he made in his latest tweet, adding that Fani-Kayode in his latest tweet made some allegations against the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
Bobade stated that Fani-Kayode had alleged that Mohammed, Adesina and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had threatened to shut down a TV station if it aired his interview.
“The media must hold Fani-Kayode to a higher standard. They should not just regurgitate his allegations without asking him to substantiate such. After all, it’s trite-law that he who alleges must prove.
“The former minister should have been asked to provide incontrovertible evidence of the allegation he made, including to identify the television station by name.
“He should have been asked also to name the particular fellow at the TV station who was threatened over his interview”, he said.
Bobade said it was unthinkable that the Minister, Adesina and the NBC would be threatening any station over an interview with an opposition politician, noting that it would be contrary to President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s commitment to freedom of expression.
He advised the Minister and Adesina not to dignify Fani-Kayode’s allegation with a response, stating that the allegation “amounts to someone’s imagination running wild.”
He noted that previous allegations by Fani-Kayode had proved to be a mere hoax, recalling that “on July 13, the former minister told Punch newspaper that the President was on life support, that he could not even recognise anyone and that he would never come back to the country as President.
“One will expect that as the President eventually returned healthy, Fani-Kayode will be challenged, instead, the media indulged him by publishing another unsubstantiated allegation from him, which he must have designed to cover his earlier statement.
“The youths want a country in which government and opposition figures engage in public discourse in an atmosphere devoid of falsehood, personal insults, acrimony and sheer hatred,” he added.
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