HUSHPUPPI’S GUILTY PLEA AND THE KYARI QUESTION

 

In the middle of the last week in July 2021, a foreign journalist revealed that Raymond Abbas also known as Huhpuppi, a popular “Instagram influencer” had pleaded guilty to charges involving conspiracy to internet fraud. The news came as a surprise to almost nobody, as Hushpuppi’s source of wealth has always been questionable. But it was still a bit unexpected as he was the one who pleaded guilty. Many felt he owned up rather easily. But that is another matter.

The real issue is what preceded or followed the guilty plea. Hushpuppi had been very cooperative with the attorneys there in the US as well as operatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as he had written or narrated reports about his past deeds. As one would have guessed, names were mentioned. No one would have expected Hushpuppi to be working alone, but one name that stood out from the rest was Abba Kyari. Abba Kyari is a Deputy Commissioner of Police as well as the commander of the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT). The press had always regarded Kyari as a “Super Cop” and he had all the markings to be the IGP someday. That same Abba Kyari had been indicted by Hushpuppi, a fraudster.

According to the FBI’s report, Hushpuppi had first contacted DCP Kyari earlier in 2020 for him to arrest one Vincent Chibuzo Kelly. According to his story, Kelly had helped Hushpuppi design a clone site to scam a Qatari businessman. Kelly, however, felt that he was not paid enough and complained to Hushpuppi. He then threatened to inform the Qatari businessman that he was being scammed. That was when Hushpuppi reached out to Kyari, ordering him to arrest and detain Kelly, with the promise of being settled. Kyari allegedly carried out the arrest and detainment and backed it up with picture evidence. Further reports by the FBI show that Kyari was paid N8 million for the job. Kyari still contacted Hushpuppi from time to time, as Hushpuppi revealed with evidence of chats, including pictures. It was Kyari that informed Hushpuppi that Kelly had fallen ill in prison. Even when Kelly’s girlfriend managed to raise N1 million to bail him, Kyari told Hushpuppi to which the latter scoffed, saying that Kelly’s arrest was not ordinary, and so he could not be bailed just like that.

As soon as this report broke out, DCP Kyari took to Facebook to refute the news, saying the only time he was contacted by Hushpuppi was when he made a complaint that Kelly was threatening his family’s life, begging the DCP to handle it. Kyari also said that he never received any money from Hush nor was any money demanded. He then explained that the only discussion pertaining to money they had was when Hushpuppi contacted him, saying he liked his natives, to which Kyari hooked him up with his tailor. A sum of N300,000 was paid directly to the tailor’s account, after which the clothes were delivered to kyari’s office until someone came to pick them on behalf of Hush. That is the story as told by Kyari.

But it does not end there as the FBI has issued a warrant of arrest for Kyari, as well as some other names that Hushpuppi mentioned. This means that Kyari would have to be extradited to answer for his charges. It is that part of the conversation that has raised a lot of dust over the past few days. What ought to be a straightforward matter has now been dissected and looked at through various lenses, with some groups calling it an effort to taint Kyari’s impeccable image, while some groups have simply called it an attack on the North.

Some other people are saying if truly Kyari has nothing to hide, then he should make the trip to the United States to clear his name once and for all. But this has also been kicked against by another set of people who are of the opinion that Kyari should be tried in Nigeria, suggesting that extradition was not necessary.

Kyari has been suspended by the IGP and a police investigation is currently ongoing to determine the extent of his alleged involvement with Hushpuppi.

In truth, this is not the first time that Kyari would be implicated. Last year, just after the EndSARS protest, a lawyer had revealed that Kyari, then heading a unit of the now-disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), had arrested his client and tagged him a fraudster, without any evidence. His client was then tortured and made to write cheques and withdraw money from his account, amounting to millions. Still, he was not released. His passport and wedding ring were seized. Still, he was not released. It took the intervention of the lawyer, who insisted that Kyari charge the man to court, where he was granted bail before he could be released. There are also other reports, especially one by lawyer Inibehe Effiong, who noted that Kyari had a history of human rights abuses and disregard for the rule of law. Some others have also credited extrajudicial killings and claims over the dead’s property to Kyari. All of these reports are worrying and the details are a bit scary.

That is why many people are interested that Kyari should, at least, be made to go to the US to answer his charges. For them, it is not just that he is being charged with fraud or anything, but that the possibility of them receiving some form of justice seems more achievable in the United States than here in Nigeria where he is being revered as a “Super Cop”.    

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