…accuse ruling party of mischief, insensitivity
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and the immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, have berated the ruling All Progressives Congress for calling on security agencies to probe ranking members of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party over alleged links with suspected international fraudster, Ramoni Abba, aka Hushpuppi.
APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, had in a statement on Saturday titled ‘Criminal conspiracy linking Hushpuppi with PDP leadership should be investigated,’ said the opposition PDP turned Dubai into a hub for its “strategic meetings” ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The ruling party also said PDP leaders, including Atiku, Saraki; the former Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and Senator Dino Melaye, took photographs with the suspected international scammer.
Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, in a series of tweets via his verified Twitter account ‘Justice Paul Ibe’ (@omonlakiki), on Saturday, however accused the APC of mischief and insensitivity to the national embarrassment the activities of individuals like Hushpuppi had caused Nigerians.
Ibe tweeted, “It is curious that the All Progressives Congress is mischievously trying to link Atiku Abubakar to the alleged fraudster, Hushpuppi, simply because he was photographed with Atiku at an event where many Nigerians were 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.”
He added in yet another tweet, “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.”
Saraki on his part described the APC’s statement linking him with the cyber-crime suspect as irresponsible and cheap blackmail.
The former Senate President, in a statement by his media adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, on Saturday, said he didn’t know the suspect and certainly had no relationship of any kind with him.
According to him, “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.
“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 business across the world, the ruling party had been muted (sic).
“The only time the APC deemed it necessary to make a statement was when it thought it should play dirty, cheap and irresponsible politics.”
The statement said Saraki was the only political leader who had publicly made a statement through an opinion article in a national newspaper, titled ‘Cyber Criminals: Confronting the few who dent many.’
The statement added, “In that article, he strongly condemned the activities of these cyber criminals 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 on the so-called Yekini Nabena and compel him to desist from making and circulating such malicious, odious and offensive claims.”