Reuben Abati, a former presidential spokesperson to President Goodluck Jonathan, has been released from detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Dr. Abati, who was arrested on on October 24, for undisclosed reasons. Details of the conditions for his freedom are not immediately available.
The Trent confirmed from a source with intimate knowledge of the situation that Abati, one of the most respected columnists in Nigeria, was allowed to go home on the evening of Friday, November 4, 2016.
“He is with his family now,” the source said, speaking anonymously. “And no, he did not admit guilt while in detention. And no, again, he did not refund or pay any money to the EFCC as were reported by dubious online news platforms.”
Abati was one of four high profile detainees who were held at the EFCC detention facility in Abuja. While in custody, also received some high profile visitors who showed solidarity with him and the other three – Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, a former aviation minister, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, a former minister of state for defence, and Senator Bala Mohammed, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory.
Last Monday, prominent Roman Catholic Bishop, Matthew Kukah visit him in custody. His visit was followed by the leadership of the PDP led by the national chairman of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi. Another high profile delegation led by former minister of the FCT, Jeremiah Useni paid him a visit on Thursday. Also, a delegation of the Middle Belt Forum paid a solidarity visit to the quartet.
The deputy senate president, Dr. Ike Ekeremadu is one of the dignitaries who visited him while in detention.
All the four men served under former President Goodluck Jonathan and political activists believe they are being targeted by the Muhammadu Buhari-government because they are members of the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP and as a ploy to “get at Dr. Goodluck Jonathan”.
Abati was held for 10 days by the EFCC in contravention of the Nigerian constitution that stipulates that detainees should be charged to court or released from detention within 48 hours. He was not charged to court.
While he was in detention, the EFCC sponsored stories in APC leaning news platforms supplying innuendo intended to cast him as corrupt without providing actual evidence of the allegations.
Senator Obanikoro was also freed by the anti-graft commission Friday.