In the hoity-toity of the avalanche of socialites in the highbrow cities of Lagos and Dubai was the sensational name Hushpuppi. Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, commonly known as Hushpuppi, Hush, or Ray, is a Nigerian Instagram celebrity, a multi-millionaire, who is known for his extravagant lifestyle shown in his love for Gucci, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Dior products. He is also known for his high taste for luxurious and high-tech cars like Royce Rolls, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Mercedes Benz, to mention but a few. In fact, the last post he made before his arrest was a 2021 white Royce Rolls Cullinan worth about $330,000. He was arrested by the Dubai Police in an operation tagged Fox Hunt 2 through the intelligence of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was alleged to be a member of a transnational cybercrime network that specialized in Business Email Compromise scams. Besides, he was accused of involvement in crimes bothering on money- laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, criminal impersonating, scamming of certain individuals, bank fraud and identity theft, among others.
Through extraordinary rendition, he was extradited to the United States to face trial. He pleaded guilty to these crimes through a plea bargain in order to enjoy some level of leniency. This plea deal would compel him to reveal everyone connected to his ring which would procure for him shortened prison terms. This perhaps brought an intriguing twist to his trial. The discovery by the officials of the FBI and the allegation that Abba Kyari is linked to the nefarious fraudulent activities of Hushpuppi and his gang aroused new interest in many people about the trial. Abba Kyari is one of Nigerian’s finest police officers popularly called the ‘’Super Cop,’’ a ‘’celebrity policeman’’. He was Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the Intelligence Response Team Unit of the Nigeria Police Force. He is famous for dismantling notorious kidnapping kingpins like Evans, Wadume and a host of criminal elements like the unknown gunmen who recently were terrorizing the southeastern part of the country.
It is no longer so much about Abbas but Abba because Timaya and Phyno had exposed the knowledge of Abbas’ suspicious wealth in their song titled ‘Tellin Person.’ So, when the news of his arrest filtered out, it was a case of a prophecy that was fulfilled in time. Nigerians are taken aback and are led to ask, how did DCP Kyari of all cops, with his finesse in detecting crimes and criminals get himself entangled in this mess with Hush? Would he be without perception as a leader of an intelligent unit of the police? This remains a goring experience for his fans in the likes of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Israel DMW- Davido’s aide, and Femi Fani-Kayode- former Aviation Minister et cetera.
Alhaji Abba Kyari and Hushpuppi are close friends. The FBI are now privy to conversations the duo had before Ray was arrested. These conversations have betrayed the ‘’super Cop’’. The FBI has alleged that Kyari is connected with an international criminal ring that defrauds innocent people and countries. The FBI report established that on two occasions Hushpuppi wired money into Abba’s team’s bank account about the sum of N300, 000 and N8, 000,000 respectively. It revealed an illegal arrest made by Kyari and his team of one of Ray’s partners ordered by Ray just with a click on his keypad and how the said victim was brutalized and unlawfully detained. The United States District Court for the Central District of California headed by US District Judge, Honorable O. Otis has issued a warrant of arrest on the now-suspended Kyari in connection with a $1.1m scam involving Ramon Abbas. This is indeed a dent in the successful career of Abba Kyari and the Nigeria Police at large.
The story of Hushpuppi and Abba Kyari captures in totality the tale of the rot in policing in Nigeria. The average police in Nigeria is guilty of bribe collection, of hob-knobbing with the rich and mighty even when they know of how dubious some of these persons might be. Abba Kyari and many other police personnel are products of the greed in the police force and the Nigerian society at large. A society that is money loosed. A society that relishes and worships money, the rich and powerful. A society that believes in quick money without work. The Nigerian Society is a society that dwells too much on frivolities and ostentatious living. Many want to live the big life, the flamboyant life. They are ready to cheat, take a bribe, be involved in rituals in order to meet their wants. The reason for this is the high level of poverty in the country occasioned by corruption, greed, maladministration and bad leadership the country has been infested with since independence. There is no clear cut road map for development and growth in any sector of the country. So everyone, especially those in positions of authority, in most areas of life, uses their power and authority to siphon money, get the necessary connection for selfish reasons at the detriment of truth, justice, professionalism and the rule of law.
Nigeria is awash with young rich people who have no evidence of work to show. However, this is not to undermine the long stretch of young entrepreneurs who are under 30 doing well for themselves and their communities. Recently, two young billionaires became popular by co-sponsoring the BigBrother Naija season 6 tagged ‘’Shine Ya Eye’’. They are Hanu Agbodje Fejiro, 25 years old, CEO and owner of Patricia Technologies Limited. He has a net worth estimated at $30,000,000. Dare Adekoya, 26 years old, CEO and owner of Design- Abeg Technologies with a net worth estimated to be at $50,000,000. But there is a vast majority of young people today whose source of income is unproven. Here is the point, these crop of persons go about with police and military personnel as their bodyguards. They go to the police station, make payment and have officers deployed to carry their bags when they go out. It is common now to see a scene of yahoo boys spraying money recklessly and policemen stand guard and even struggle with the crowd to shovel some wad of cash into their pockets. How did they get to this level of degradation?
It is not uncommon to have the police at the behest of these nouveaux-riches. The conversation between DCP Abba Kyari buttresses this fact. The conversation between Hushpuppi and Abba Kyari described by Dr Ugoji Egbujo as ‘’the maggots in Hushpuppi’s phone’’ defines the behaviour of most police officers in the face of the rich and powerful. These maggots revealed how Kyari affectionately addressed Hush as ‘’bro.’’ Money controls a lot of power and influence. It has made Alhaji Kyari, a Kanuri man and a high-level detector a brother to a Gucci king, a Yoruba man and a popular fraudster. The kind of person he should not deal with ordinarily in a cordial relationship. If the ‘’super cop’’ could fall for money who would not be in the ranks and files of the Nigerian police force? Oga, na who dem catch be thief!
John Emerich Edward Dalberg- Action opined that ‘’power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…’’Abba Kyari welded power to the extent he could arrest and detain a suspect for more than a month without a remand order from any lawful court. This was the case of Vincent Chibuzo who attempted to intercept the money Ray was expecting from his Qatari prey because he felt cheated having helped Hush to create a fake website to defraud the Qatari maga. DCP Kyari was ordered by Abbas to arrest and detain Vincent. He had him put behind bars, tortured and bruised to the extent he contracted a skin disease that Kyari alleged was gotten from the other detainees. Apparently, this is the case of so many suspects in police custody. The rich and powerful frequently use the police as a mechanism of oppression of the poor and vulnerable citizens who have nobody to defend them. There are accused persons wallowing, wailing and waiting behind bars in the dungeons of police stations across the nation. No one charges them to court but they are left in endless waiting for friends and families to bail them with huge money. They make a huge sum of money from arresting and bailing suspects who in most cases are innocent of what they are accused of. This could be called kidnapping. The level of impunity, brutality and corruption in the Nigerian police force is alarming.
It is not so much a surprise then that DCP Kyari would defile the aura of his all-important office because of N300, 000. Oops! It was used to make Babariga for Hushpuppi! Probably Ray had seen his exquisite native attires on Instagram and reached out to him to help him get some. Many people do such. Sure, we have fashionistas like Yomi Casual and social media influencers like Tunde Ednut, Cubana Chief Priest who would have run this errand brilliantly. But for a Cop like Kyari, it is very absurd. On another thought maybe he needed some rough fraud money to buy some exotic cars for his teenage son who according to the controversial Nigerian investigative journalist, Kemi Olunloyo, already owns an expensive Range Rover SUV bought by his father. One would wonder why Alhaji Abba Kyari would live a lavished life amidst the penury our policemen and women are subjected to. He must be involved in a side hustle definitely to live a big life as a cop in Nigeria. Nonetheless, we await the United States District Court for the Central District of California to find him guilty or acquit him. Until then, he remains stained by his decision to be friendly with a man like Hushpuppi. We hope the federal government through her Attorney General would make brisk the necessary moves to extradite him, just like in the case of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho, to quickly wash off this stain on DCP Kyari and the Nigeria Police Force.
By – Rev. Fr. Timothy Etsenamhe
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