Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has slammed All Progressives Congress (APC) for linking him with suspected fraudster, Hushpuppi.
Earlier today, APC in a statement released by its National Publicity Secretary Yekini Nabena called on the relevant security agencies to investigate the links Hushpuppi had with some PDP stalwarts.
The party said the investigation is necessary considering the fact that many of PDP chieftains had several meetings in Dubai ahead of the 2019 general elections.
According to APC, Hushpuppi was at different times 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.
In a swift response, Saraki in a statement released by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, described the statement from APC as ‘irresponsible’ and ‘dirty politics’.
Saraki in the statement said he has no form of association with the fraud suspect and neither does he know him in any way.
The statement reads;
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.
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 a 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.
In a similar statement, Paul Ibe, a media adviser to Atiku, a former PDP presidential candidate, denied meeting with the suspected cybercriminal, hedging that it was only “a mere photo-op.”
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.
Hushpuppi and his associates were arrested early June by Dubai police and extradited to the United States same month.
They are accused of Business Email Compromises (BEC) scams and other schemes of which almost 2 million victims were defrauded of over N168 billion.