The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said criminal conspiracy linking “Hushpuppi” with some top leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should be investigated.
The APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, in a statement issued on Saturday, claimed that the PDP leadership turned Dubai into their “strategic” meeting place ahead of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria and that “Hushpuppi’s” affinity with the party’s leadership “was not mere coincidence.”
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Nabena said at different times, Hushpuppi was being photographed in Dubai meeting with the PDP’s 2019 presidential candidate, Alh. Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Senator Dino Melaye among other PDP stalwarts.
He said: “Reports of the criminal conspiracy linking the top echelon of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with Ramon Olorunwa Abbas also known as ‘Ray Hushpuppi’, who was recently arrested along with associate(s) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and extradited to the United States of America to face trial over cyber-enabled fraud and Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes, should be a matter of serious interest to relevant authorities in Nigeria.
“We note that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has already declared the arraigned Instagram celebrity wanted over fraud allegations.
“However, the EFCC, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and other sister agencies must investigate money laundering reports linking some PDP leaders and financiers to the Dubai-based international criminal ring.
“While relevant authorities investigate the nature of their relationship and business partnership, we also challenge the PDP leadership to do same by opening up on the nature of the relationship, particularly the kind of services the arrested “Hushpuppi” provided them.”
In his reaction, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has warned the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) against using a case of “national embarrassment” for “political blackmail.”
Atiku, in a tweet by his media aide, Paul Ibe @omonlakiki, on Saturday said: “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.”
Also reacting, former Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, described as “irresponsible and cheap politics”, the statement credited to the APC and signed on its behalf by one Yekini Nabena in which it tried to link him with a cyber-crime suspect, Hushpuppi.
Saraki in a statement issued in Abuja by his spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu stated that he has no form of association with the said suspect, Ramon Abbas otherwise known as Hushpuppi and neither does he know him in any way.
“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 cyber crime 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.
“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 signed Yusuph Olaniyonu of Abubakar Bukola Saraki Media Office said.