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Hate Speech: Trouble Looms For APC Chieftain, Fani-Kayode, As UK Considers Sanction

March 26, 2023






A former Minister of Aviation and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, may face Visa sanction from the United Kingdom (UK) Government following his alleged inciting comments against the Igbo ethnic group, which triggered violence against mostly members of the Igbo ethnic group during the March 18 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections in Nigeria.

British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ben Llellwelling Jones, disclosed this during an interview with Nigeria Info FM in Lagos on Sunday.

Speaking on the violence that rocked the elections, especially in Lagos State, the British envoy condemned Fani-Kayode for his negative utterances against the Igbo race because of their choice in a multi-party democracy.

The former Aviation Minister reportedly joined the call to stop the Igbo from “taking over Yoruba land”, which later manifested in violence and ethnic slur against the Igbo in Lagos.

Jones said, “Yes, let’s be specific, there were some people, like Femi Fani-Kayode, what is he saying and why is he saying it? I don’t understand. It is wrong from my perspective that he will speak on behalf of a party and that party does not distance itself from him and say stop doing that. It is wrong to say that.

“I have said it before on this show, that if you live in London, you are a Londoner, a British-Pakistan, is a Londoner. The British Prime Minister lives in London. My boss, the British Foreign Secretary is clearly British-Sierra Leone and lives in London, they are Londoners.

“So, why is it that people who pay taxes, who work, who provide teachers, who built businesses, who create jobs, who live in Lagos, who happen to be from a different ethnicity to some other people are not Lagosians? Of course, they are.

“The strength of Lagos is its diversity, and if Lagos can’t be that kind of cosmopolitan melting pot of culture and language and all the things it should be, then really how is Lagos going to succeed?

“I think the right question to people who have been driving these ethnic kind of languages would be, when you go to cities around the world like London, what do you see when you see the success of those places? Because the success of those places are not built upon division but upon unity. I think there are people who are still using that kind of language should stop, and the party they represent should be saying to them stop now, this is not in our name and you are wrong.”

The envoy called on the APC to take  firm position on the matter and proper action against this behaviour.

“To me it is really important, people who have said ‘I am part of a party’s press and media campaign’, well the party itself should say no you are not, and you should stop and we do not agree. I know that some leaders very clearly said we are about unity, and that is good, I encourage that. The problem is if you get the other people over here, who are very clearly associated with the party and giving you another message, and there isn’t any kind of calling out of that. What would you take from that as a voter?

“Certainly the people who were chanting anti-Igbo messages on Saturday, they certainly took something from what they read and what they saw, and what they heard. And that is wrong. So to me, I am not being an idealist about this, I recognize that people have different views on these things, but it is about the incitement, the kind of ethnic incitement, and that needs to stop.

On the visa ban threat, which the UK government issued against electoral  offenders, Jones said “We have a list, we are working through our list but we don’t publish those names I know people say we should, but we have laws, and the law prevents us from doing that.

“The UK is a rule bound society, we don’t do that, but we do have a list, which we are working it through. We said we will do this and we will do this. And we are gathering the kind of information that will enable us do this, on specific individuals.

“We watched very closely, I was in Lagos the whole time, we have people on the ground in key places. The stuff is in the public domain as well, it is not difficult to find. So we won’t publish the names, we don’t do that, we can’t do that.”

He said that at the moment the list is between 5 and 10 and it is growing.”

Recall that the UK Government had earlier issued a statement after the March 18 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections condemning the violence and threatening to impose sanctions on election offenders.



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