Phrank Shaibu, Special Assistant on Public Communication to Atiku Abubakar, has demanded an unreserved public apology from Femi Fani-Kayode to his principal.
Mr Shaibu in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said Mr Fani-Kayode, who is the Director of Special Projects and New media of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, should tender an apology to ensure he was truly remorseful of his allegation.
Mr Fani-Kayode had alleged that the PDP presidential candidate, Mr Abubakar, met with army generals with the aim of executing a coup against the democratically elected government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The State Secret Service (SSS) had on Monday grilled Mr Fani-Kayode over a series of tweets wherein he claimed that Mr Abubakar met with some army generals in a bid to perpetrate a coup.
Mr Shaibu said that after his release, Mr Fani-Kayode stated at a press conference that he regretted making the comments and he would guard his statements in the future.
Mr Shaibu, however, said Mr Fani-Kayode’s regret was not enough without a public apology issued to Mr Abubakar and the military.
“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 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.”
Mr Shaibu demanded that the public apology should be published in three newspapers, including The Nation and their online editions for seven days consecutively beginning from February 15.
Mr Shaibu said if Mr Fani-Kayode failed to tender a public apology for criminally defaming Mr Abubakar, 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,” Mr Shaibu added.