Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, have hit back at the All Progressives Congress (APC), for linking them to arrested popular Nigerian cyber fraudster, Ramon Abbas, AKA Hushpuppi.
The APC in a statement by its former Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, had called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to probe the duo’s relationship with Abbas after pictures they took with him emerged online.
Atiku in a statement by his spokesman, Paul Ibe, warned Nabena to guide his utterances.
“It is curious that the All Progressives Congress is mischievously trying to link Atiku Abubakar to the alleged fraudster, Ramon Abbas, AKA Hushpuppi, simply because he was photographed with Atiku at an event where many Nigerians had gathered.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, it was a mere photo-op and not at any meeting as being ingloriously speculated. We would advise the APC and Mr. Nabena to be very mindful of such senseless statements in the future especially as the case under reference is a subject of litigation in another country. Had they been more sensitive, they would have come to terms with the reality that the case is a national embarrassment – not something to cheer about for any political blackmail” the statement said.
Saraki in a separate statement issued in Abuja described Nabena’s statement as the reason why international community view Nigeria’s anti corruption fight with suspicion. He further warned on the APC to call Nabena to order.
“The statement credited to the APC, the ruling party in our country, is one of the ways by which our anti-graft agencies are weakened and why the fight against corruption in the country is often viewed with suspicion by the international community. This is because when these cyber-crime suspects were operating freely and openly displaying wealth, the APC saw nothing bad in their activities. Also, the party at that time did not deem it necessary to call on the anti-graft agencies to investigate their activities.
“Also, since the arrest of those cybercrime suspects and the subsequent damage to the image and the economy of Nigeria as well as the crisis it created for Nigerians engaged in lawful businesses across the world, the ruling party had been muted. The only time the APC deemed it necessary to make a statement was when it thought it should play dirty, cheap and irresponsible politics.
“Dr Saraki was the only political leader who has publicly made a statement through an Op-Ed article published in the Daily Trust newspaper of July 1, 2020, titled “Cyber Criminals: Confronting The Few Who Dent Many” and this opinion article had been widely circulated online and on other platforms. In that article, he strongly condemned the activities of these cybercriminals and called on the law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to make decisive interventions to checkmate their activities. He has also got a research institution, the Politeia Institute, whose board he chairs to commence research on the best ways to tackle the menace.
“Such a noble intervention in tackling a menace is what Dr Saraki believes in, not mudslinging and playing politics at the expense of the nation’s image. At this point, we call on the APC leadership to rein in the so-called Yekini Nabena and compel him to desist from making and circulating such malicious, odious and offensive claims” the statement concluded.