By Adebayo Obajemu
The Abba Kyari riveting saga is far from reaching a denouement of sort, though there is no denying the fact that it has suddenly reached a crescendo; taking on the usual Nigerian character of being wrapped in fault lines – as some group and individuals are trying hard to drive ethnic wedge into it.
Last week, the Kyari story took a new twist when the embattled super cop probably acting on legal advice deleted a Facebook post in which he explained his relationship with alleged internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi. Mr. Kyari was mentioned by Hushpuppi, as receiving part of the proceeds of fraud for which the latter is being prosecuted in the U.S.
Hushpuppi, who has agreed to plead guilty to the fraud, told U.S. prosecutors that he gave Mr. Kyari part of the proceeds of the crime. He said he also got Kyari to arrest one of his Nigerian accomplices when they had a disagreement.
Mr Kyari took to his verified Facebook page to state his innocence.
In his statement, Kyari,m a DCP,M said he did not demand any money from Hushpuppi. He, however, said he introduced the accused to a cloth seller whom he (Hushpuppi) paid about N300,000. BH’s check on Friday evening showed that the embattled deputy police commissioner had edited the post severally and expunged the section where he claimed he linked Hushpuppi up with his tailor.
He also edited the N300,000 claim and included a section where he mentioned the sum of N8m.
Many analysts told this medium that the mere fact that few hours after editing the post, Kyari pulled it down from his page, creating room for more suspicion.
John Owoh, a security analyst said “the super cop has done more damage to his image by that singular action of editing his earlier response. It raises more suspicion. Last week, the Kyari matter went further when the FBI released more information to confirm that Kyari collected N8 million in that hire-a-senior-cop case.
Owoh told BusinessHallmark that it is bad that some group and individuals are trying to twist the tapestry of the story by reading ethnic colouration to Kyari’s travails.
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) was reported in the newspapers last week as saying the FBI’s plan to arrest Kyari is “totally unacceptable”, and that “nothing must happen to him”. The AYCF further said “all Nigerians who are truly patriotic should stand behind a man who has made an unrivalled mark on the sands of time by diligently serving his fatherland” … because the FBI’s proposed arrest is “an attempted intimidation of a police officer right inside his independent fatherland.”
The statement is credited to Alhaji Yerima Shettima, described as AYCF President. On its own, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) MACBAN is accusing the U.S. FBI of colluding with some leaders in Southern Nigeria to indict police officer Abba Kyari and the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) of folding its hands and failing to defend “sons of the North who have distinguished themselves in different fields (and) are constantly being persecuted and maligned at the height of their careers.”
One Dr Garus Gololo, speaking on behalf of MACBAN, added that, “The United States is the most dishonest country in the world. What they are doing to Kyari, they did it to Al Gore. Let him stand firmly and defend himself because he is Nigeria’s future Inspector General of Police, and he mustn’t allow himself to be rattled.”
Many commentators, including Dr Reuben Abati have carpeted the idea of reading ethnic colouration to Kyari’s problem, as sad and unfortunate.
The Police Service Commission (PSC) recently suspended the embattled officer from office as a deputy commissioner of police and head of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT). His suspension was based on the recommendation of Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba.
The police chief recommended the suspension as a temporary measure to allow investigation into Kyari’s relationship with the renowned fraudster.
But there are suggestions in some quarters that the embattled super cop may be gearing up for a fight, and may decide not to go down alone. In past week, tons of publications have emerged on the bribery allegation leveled against Abba Kyari.
However, making the rounds now is a claim that Kyari threatened to expose Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, and Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity and others.
This alleged threat to open the Pandora box has begun to make waves across social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.
Biafra TV, in a Facebook posts which has gathered over 400 shares, 183 comments and over 660 likes, alleged that Kyari threatened to expose Mohammed and Adesina if arrested by FBI. The page has over 13,000 followers.
“If Nigeria government allows FBI to arrest me, I will expose Lai Muhammad and Femi Adesina says Aba Kyari. The game is changing gradually,” the post read.
A similar post was shared on Yoruba Nation, a public Facebook group with over 1,200 members.
“I will expose this government right from the head to lowest because Nigeria is not a country even though we all playing the games for profits and gains. I will go down but many heads will rolls as long as I’m concern,” Nnamdi wrote.
But according to African Confidential and TheCable this claim is false as the DCP made no such remarks. The claim was not accredited to any source, platform or time that Kyari made such statement.
So far, Kyari has reacted to the allegations against him only once on both Facebook and Instagram. In a statement released, on Thursday, to clarify the allegations, the DCP made no mention of Mohammed or Adesina.
Kyari did not also threaten any person or institution while reacting to the allegations.
Adetoun Sanyaolu, a psychologist who is researching mass hysteria for his doctoral work told BusinessHallmark that “in a situation like this, many always come up with conspiracy theory with which to drive to create falsification which they will drive as truth. In the age of social media, it is almost the norm to create mass hysteria based on falsehood.”
Meanwhile, Kyari, currently on suspension last Tuesday appeared before the Special Investigation Panel, headed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in-charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department, Joseph Egbunike.
Sources said the SIP which is sitting at the Force headquarters Conference room had DCP Kyari presenting his defence to the indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the US to the SIP members until about 9 pm on Tuesday night.
Following the constitution of the panel by the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, the panel had a meeting on Monday but commenced proceedings on Tuesday.
Recall that U.S. officials said during interrogation, Hushpuppi disclosed that he gave Kyari money to arrest and jail “one of his rivals in Nigeria after a dispute over a $1.1 million scam on Qatari businesspeople.”
In a post on his verified Facebook account, Kyari denied receiving money from Hushpuppi, and that the Instagram celebrity only called his office about two years ago that somebody in Nigeria “threatened to kill his family here.”
The suspect, Kyari said was trailed and arrested, but after investigation, they discovered there was no actual threat to anyone’s life and “they are long-time friends who have money issues between them hence we released the suspect on bail.”
The senior officer also said later Hushpuppi “saw some of my native clothes and caps on my social media page and he said he likes them and he was connected to the person selling the clothes and he sent about N300k directly to the person’s account.”
But in a new turn, Kyari, who is being grilled by a police panel following a warrant by the US to arrest and extradite him, edited his post Tuesday evening.
Removing the part where he said Hushpuppi sent N300,000 for clothes, the senior police officer now claimed his office was reached a second time to help recover N8 million.
“Nobody demanded or collected any money from Abbas Hushpuppi. He can be interviewed publicly in the presence of the world media by the people holding him to confirm this,” Kyari wrote in the new post.
“He also called for another case in June 2020 and complained about a financial transaction with a second person whom he said his friend sent 8 million naira to and pleaded for his friend’s money to be recovered. He sent transaction slips and other evidences to prove their case against the person.
“All these can be verified from the Hushpuppi since he is still in custody. And it can be verified from person who collected 8 million naira from Hushpuppi’s friend whom they complained about is alive and is in Nigeria.”
Competent sources last week told Business Hallmark that there was apprehension in the police high command and the political establishment that should push come to shove, Kyari may be inclined to tar the brush of many top figures in the power loop who he may have damaging information on, if is certain he may be extradited to the United States.
The Hushpuppi saga and the indictment of Kyari has again put spotlight on advanced fees fraud or internet scam.
Recently, Operatives of the Lagos Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested Boniface Odenigbo Amandianeze AKA Armani and Olasunmbo Olawale Winfunke AKA Sumbo owners of Buzz Bar for Lagos.
According to the statement from Wilson Uwujaren spokesperson for EFCC, the trio were taken into custody for alleged internet fraud and money laundering recently.
“We arrested the suspects, Boniface Odenigbo Amandianeze and Olasunmbo Olawale Winfunke, owners of Buzz Bar, the nightclub situated at Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, recently for No 2A and 2B Oniru Estate, Lagos.”
EFCC said the arrest of Armani and Sumbo was consequent on credible intelligence that the commission received about their alleged involvement for some crime that include romance scam, business email compromise, benefit scam, credit card fraud and money laundering.
According to EFCC during the arrest, they recovered four exotic cars, mobile devices, laptop computers, jewellery and wrist watches that were worth hundreds of millions.
Between January to June this year alone, EFCC says it has arrested over one thousand suspected internet fraudsters between the ages of 25- 34.
For July 5 alone, EFCC arrested six people for alleged internet fraud for Enugu and four suspected internet fraudsters for Abuja.