To ensure that he is truly remorseful of his self-confessed lie that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, met with army generals with the aim of executing a coup against the democratically elected government of President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Fani-Kayode, the Director of Special Projects and New media of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, has been asked to tender an unreserved public apology to the former Vice President of Nigeria.
The Department of State Services had on Monday grilled Fani-Kayode for six hours following a series of tweets wherein he irresponsibly claimed that Atiku had met with some army generals in a bid to perpetrate a coup.
After his release, Fani-Kayode stated at a press conference that he regretted making the comments and he would guard his statements in the future.
However, the Special Assistant, Public Communication to Atiku, Mr. Phrank Shaibu said Fani-Kayode’s “regret” was not enough without a public apology issued to Atiku and the military.
He said, “Fani-Kayode’s regret is a step in the right direction, but this is not sufficient. Who exactly is he apologising to? He needs to be specific. He needs to apologise to Waziri Atiku Abubakar for trying to impugn his character. He also needs to apologise to the military for denigrating that revered institution.
“Fani-Kayode is a former minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with over two million followers across social media platforms. He is a lawyer and ought to understand the implication of libel. Apart from the criminal aspect of his tweets, he has also committed defamation and thus must be made to apologise for his inane insinuations.”
To this end, Shaibu demanded that Fani-Kayode’s public apology to Atiku should be published in three newspapers, including The Nation and their online editions for seven days consecutively beginning from Wednesday, 15 February, 2023.
Shaibu said Fani-Kayode has a penchant for making specious allegations but has been treated like a sacred cow for too long, which has emboldened him over the years.
Shaibu served notice that if Fani-Kayode fails to tender a public apology for criminally defaming Atiku, he may need to offer explanation in the court of law.
“There should be a fine line between political propaganda and crime. When a person in the calibre of a former minister is unable to differentiate between the two, it becomes worrisome. His allegation of a planned coup should not be taken lightly. Such juvenile drivel must not be tolerated, not even in the name of politics,” Shaibu added.