Fred Itua, Abuja
Former Senate President Bukola Saraki has described as ‘dirty, cheap and irresponsible politics’ a statement credited to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and signed on its behalf by party spokesman Yekini Nabena in which he was linked with a cybercrime suspect, Ramon Abbas (the popular social media influencer commonly known as ‘Hushpuppi’) who was recently arrested in the United Arab Emirates and extradited to the United States.
Saraki in a statement issued in Abuja denied that he has any association with the criminal suspect.
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 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.