Former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has Sympathized with Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain, Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu’s ‘delicate situation’ following the uproar that greeted the mention of her name in one of his articles – A Word For Those That Call Me A Tribalist – but says the former beauty queen was economical with the truth when she claimed she has never met him nor ever been friends with him.
Mr. Fani-Kayode was reacting to a threat by Mrs. Ojukwu’s lawyers for him to apologize to her over his “bizarre and scandalous allegation” or risk being sued for libel.
Mrs. Ojukwu’s lawyers said the former minister’s claim that he had a long standing and intimate relationship with their client is not only untrue and unfounded but calculated to lower her “esteem and damage her national and international reputation.”
They added, “Our client has never met you, does not know you in person and has never had any official or private relationship with you how much more ‘a long and intimate relationship’”.
But Mr. Fani-Kayode in a response issued by spokesperson Mr. Bisi Lawal, said ordinarily, he would not join issues with the Ambassador but since she has gone public to deny ever knowing him, he would respond in kind.
The statement reads in part, “Ordinarily he would have not have said a word about this matter because he sympathizes with her (Mrs. Ojukwu) for whatever she may have been going through. However now that she has put it in the public realm, Chief Fani-Kayode is compelled to formally respond.
“To the assertion that he never knew her and that they were never friends, he says this is false and he asks why would he lie? The public evidence is to the contrary. Chief Fani-Kayode would not want to say anything to embarrass her because that would be ungentlemanly.
“He sympathises with her delicate situation and once again he expresses his regrets about the fact that his statement about her was misconstrued. We shall just leave it at that.”
On the threat of legal action by Mrs. Ojukwu’s lawyers if Mr. Fani-Kayode does not tender a “clear and unqualified” apology and publish a retraction of his publication in two national dailies within seven days, Mr. Lawal said, “The matter has of course been referred to Chief Fani-Kayode’s lawyers who will now take it up.”