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TheCable

FACT CHECK: No, Abaribe didn’t say he stands with ESN

FACT CHECK: No, Abaribe didn’t say he stands with ESN
July 27
14:53 2021

On Saturday, a Twitter user claimed Enyinnaya Abaribe, senate minority leader, made a statement in support of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

The account with username Oluchi System said the senator berated Ahmad Gumi, a popular Islamic cleric, for allegedly defending bandits.

The post has garnered over 550 retweets, 797 likes and 28 comments.

“If Gumi can stand and defend banditry and Fulani attacking innocent Nigerians without been arrested, with every power and fearlessness,” the senator was quoted to have said.

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“I stand with ESN and Nnamdi Kanu, because an Igbo man never fears a human being talk of a Fulani man.”

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The post has also appeared on other social media platforms, especially on Facebook groups sharing contents about IPOB.

Biafra TV, a Facebook page, posted the statement attributed to the senator, while the content generated 225 comments, 382 shared and over 1,100 likes.

Orbitnews, a Facebook page with over 145,000 followers, also shared the post which has gathered over 638 likes, 150 comments and 84 shares.

Abaribe, senator representing Abia-south, hails from the same state as Kanu. He stood surety for the IPOB leader during the latter’s trial for treasonable felony in 2017.

On July 21, Abaribe said he did not feel betrayed that Kanu jumped bail after he stood surety for him, saying he is ready to make the same commitment again.

The senator has always shown support for the IPOB leader. Abaribe had asked the federal government to respect the fundamental human rights of the IPOB leader while his trial lasts, saying he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

BUT DID ABARIBE MAKE THE STATEMENT ON STANDING WITH ESN?

In verifying the claim, TheCable did a Web search of the statement. The result showed that the statement was not reported by any credible news platform. It was basically published on social media platforms and a blog.

Also, the statement was not dated or signed by the senator or any of his spokespersons. In addition, it was not indicated where Abaribe made the statement.

Also, a search through the social media pages of the senator showed that he did not publish the alleged statement from him online. On the senator’s verified Facebook page, his last post was in May, a month before Kanu was re-arrested. The alleged statement could not be found on the page.

Reacting to the statement credited to the senator, Uchenna Awom, Abaribe’s spokesperson, said his principal did not make such statement.

“He did not make the statement. Please discard,” Awom told TheCable in a text message.

VERDICT: The statement attributed to Abaribe that he stands with ESN, while taking a swipe at Gumi, is fake news.



This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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