A Twitter user @AbiolaYaqub on Thursday said Dr Reuben Abati, Arise News’ Morning Show anchor and former special adviser on media to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for collecting N500 million illegal funds.
According to the Twitter user, the funds were paid to Abati through the office of the then National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki.
The Twitter user @AbiolaYaqub on Thursday tweeted an image of three persons including Abati and former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, saying “This is Reuben Abati of Arise TV in EFCC custody for collecting 500 million naira from the Dasuki arms funds deal. Today, the same Abati works with Nduka Obaigbena, owner of Arise TV, set up with money meant to fight insurgency but complains about insecurity.”
The image has generated about 1,500 likes, over 1,000 quote tweets and retweets.
Claim 1: Image of Abati in EFCC custody
Daily Trust subjected the image posted by @AbiolaYaqub and found that it was cropped as the complete image comprised a group of five individuals including a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode.
Although Google image reverse search could not ascertain the exact location where the picture was taken; whether it was at an EFCC facility or not as it was appearing on the internet for the first time, Daily Trust can confirm that all the individuals in the full picture as at the time it was taken were members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Conclusion: Daily Trust’s findings showed that the image posted by the Twitter user was manipulated and as such misleading.
Claim 2: Reuben Abati collected N500m from NSA.
Checks by Daily Trust revealed that in October 2016, the EFCC arrested Abati and Bala Mohammed, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, who is now governor of Bauchi State.
Subsequently, the anti-graft agency revealed that Abati received N50m from the embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
Also, Abati reportedly told investigators that he expended the N50m on media relations that had to do with his work as the media adviser to Jonathan.
But when asked for evidence of how the money was spent, he reportedly said such details were not documented.
“He said media relations details are never documented,” the EFCC sources had said.
Abati was neither charged nor convicted. A few days after his arrest, he was granted administrative bail by the EFCC.
Verdict: Partly true.
Conclusion: Following the verification by this newspaper, it was ascertained that though Abati was arrested as claimed, the amount in question was N50m and not N500m. Hence, the claim is misleading.