A former Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has responded to the alleged link with a suspected internet fraudster, Ramon Igbalode Abbas (a.k.a Hushpuppi), describing it as ‘irresponsible and cheap politics.’
Ramon Abbas was recently arrested in the United Arab Emirates and extradited to the United States to face criminal charges bordering on cybercrime and fraud.
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In a statement, on Saturday, titled: “Cyber Criminals: APC ‘s Statement Irresponsible”, Saraki denied a statement credited to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and signed on its behalf by Yekini Nabena in which it tried to link him with a cyber-crime suspect, stressing that he had no form of association with the said suspect.
The statement reads in parts: “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.”
Saraki also called on the APC leadership to compel Yekini Nabena to desist from making and circulating such malicious, odious and offensive claims.
The alleged link
The APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, in a statement on Saturday, claimed that the PDP’s leadership turned Dubai into their “strategic” meeting place ahead of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria and “Hushpuppi’s” affinity with the party leadership was not mere coincidence.
Nabena said, at different times, “Hushpuppi” was being photographed in Dubai meeting with the PDP’s 2019 presidential candidate, 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 People’s 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.