Nigerians on social media have mocked the Economic and Financial Crimes for arresting the former presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, just days after he penned an article about Nigeria’s seat of power, Aso Rock.
The EFCC says Mr. Abati, a columnist, was arrested for his alleged links to the ongoing investigation of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
EFCC sources said other reasons for Mr. Abati’s detention would be made known later.
But, with the raging speculation on social media, the arrest may have been wrongly timed.
The fact that specific details of Mr. Abati’s arrest have so far remained fuzzy, has done little help to douse concerns on the social media that the arrest was a fallout of the article.
In the article, which was published in The Guardian, Mr. Abati argued that the Nigerian presidential palace had been occupied by evil spirits for decades.
“I am ordinarily not a superstitious person, but working in the Villa, I eventually became convinced that there must be something supernatural about power and closeness to it,” Mr. Abati had earlier written.
Mr. Abati said the demons were so ruthless that some married men were deprived of the ability to exercise their social status, leaving their wives little choice but to seek alternative means of satisfying their sexual cravings.
He said his suspicion that officials in the State House were putting up with evil spirits was the primary reason he declined to pack into an apartment provided for his family there.
The article ignited heated debate on social media, with Femi Fani-Kayode coming out to support Mr. Abati.
Mr. Fani-Kayode suggested that even President Buhari’s infamous argument that his wife belongs to the kitchen, was a manifestation of supernatural powers compelling him to utter disparaging statements.
But presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, disagreed.
Mr. Adesina, in an opinion piece over the weekend, said Mr. Abati’s hypothesis did not reflect the reality on ground.
“For over one year, I have lived in the house allocated to me at the Villa. I sleep so soundly, I even snore,” Mr. Adesina said. “In fact, I snore so loud that at times, I wake myself up with the sound.”
By Monday evening, the news that Mr. Abati had been arrested, sent Nigeria’s blogosphere into a meltdown.
“I hope the evil spirits in Aso Rock did not possess our revered journalist Reuben Abati ooh! abi EFCC want to do deliverance session?” A user, Alabi Michael, wrote.
Another user, Uche, was more authoritative with his conclusion.
“So Reuben Abati will spend the night at EFCC detention facility because of his article on evil spirits in Aso Rock? Just like that.”
Another user Chidi Ajuzie said Mr. Abati might be interrogated about more offences than corruption.
“Reuben Abati must now explain, in full with full workings, to EFCC; the operations of the evil spirits he claims are in Aso Rock,” Mr. Ajuzie said.
On PREMIUM TIMES’ Facebook page, Michael Martins said he had predicted Mr. Abati’s arrest since he wrote the controversial column.
“I knew this will happen since I saw that article about “demons” in Aso Rock.
“If u think this is about fighting corruption, then why was the walking free until he started his article?
“Was it just a coincidence that once someone is outspoken about this administration he ends up in EFCC’s cell?”
Other social media users suggested that the EFCC must come out clean on its actions against Mr. Abati to ward off the allegations and avoid a public relation setback.
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