As the Boeing 747 airliner descended at the J.F. Kennedy International Airport, spread-eagled, its massive tyres forked out, grinding the New York tarmac on the dot of 4pm.
This was when Abba Kiyari roused from his deep slumber since the Delta plane embarked on the 13-hour flight from Lagos, Nigeria. All his life, he had never slept for 13 straight hours before. Only a powerful sleeping drug could make him do so. When was he injected? He had no idea.
He took in his environment, slowly; he was sandwiched between two sunglasses-wearing white male Americans on the very last row of seats in the commercial aircraft. Kiyari looked across the aisle to his left, a well-built black man in suit kept a straight face with a large dog sitting beside him. Across the aisle to his right were two young ladies in black T-shirts that announced their collective identity, FBI.
“FBI?!”, Kiyari thought to himself, letting out a silent fart and two drops of urine in his pant. He lifted his right hand to suppress a yawn but the hand was snapped back by a handcuff shackled to the seat.
Gradually, everything came back to him: The FBI had got an injunction of the Federal High Court, and served it on the Inspector General of Police: “Release Abba Kiyari for immediate onward journey to the US.”
“Welcome to America, Mr Kiyari,” one of the white guys greeted politely as the plane taxied to a stop. He unlocked the handcuff on Kiyari’s right hand.
Like the Very-Important-P he was, a convoy of police cars pulled up to pick Kiyari outside the arrival hall en route to Rikers Island Prison, Queens, New York. He appeared in court the next day and was remanded in prison custody till March 17, 2023, his birthday.
However, it was a memorable reunion for Kiyari, his fellow compatriot, long-time business partner and fraudster, Ramon Abass aka Hushpuppi; and Obi Okeke aka Invectus Obi, another compatriot and solid internet fraudster, in the prison.
Hushpuppi: Oga Kiyari, na your face bi dis? When you land for God’s Own Country? I’m very happy to see you. (Smiles, stretches out his hand.).
Kiyari: Hush, no be so we talk am nah. (Reluctantly shakes hands).
Hushpuppi: Oga A-K, you too see say na cast di deal cast nah.
Kiyari: But you supoz no mention my name nah. You ruined the career of an awaiting IGP.
Hushpuppi: I no mention your name; FBI bust my phone and retrieve all our conversations and voice notes ni.
Kiyari: Wetin go come happen now?
Hushpuppi: Heaven no go fall, oga. Make you just relax and await your sentencing. Here safe pass Ikoyi and Ass–o-Rock.
Kiyari: Me, the begotten son of President Bubu go to jail?
Hushpuppi: Even Bubu go go jail if e commit crime against America. You think say here na abbattoir like Naija? Tell your Bubu to dey pray make International Crimnal Court no open book reach the human right abuses im maladministration commit for Lekki Tollgate. Broz, you don see Obi?
Kiyari: Which Obbi? The politician?
Hushpuppi: No, our own Obi, the Guy Man. Invectus.
Kiyari: Oh, dat one? E dey here, too?
Hushpuppi: Yes nah…Ah, see am dey come for front so.
(Obi walks up to the duo. Greetings)
Obi: Good to see you, Abba. Which day you land?
Obi: How Naija nah?
Kiyari: Naija dey o, everybody dey busy with 2023.
Obi: If Nigerians wise, make dem vote for Obbi. Na im bi di messiah.
Hushpuppi: Becos na your brother, abi? Obbi ko, Obiagheli ni. Na Bourdillion go win the election, jo!
Kiyari: As Sai Baba don allow US get me, na Atiikuu Waziri I dey support now. After e enter, e go arrange my freedom.
Hushpuppi: Atiikuu na don, Bourdillon na mafia. Oga Kiyari don port fast-fast.
Kiyari: I don port o. But Obbi can never win.
Kiyari: E no get experience. Na guy man.
Obi: No, he’s not 419, he’s just smart like Trump, that’s all.
Is that why your people are wishing him dead?
Hushpuppi: Leave matter for Matthias. Tell your idol to declare where e get money to build personal supermarket while serving as governor. We also sabi wetin happen for the brewery matter.
Obi: Chai, see Hush dey talk about corruption o? Fear God nah!
Hushpuppi: You no talk? Why I no fit talk about corruption? Nigeria na game and we all bi players, including the pre-sin-dential candidates. Me, I no talk say Bourdillon na angel. Na No 1 thief e be. But na im I go mobilise for even from prison here because e sabi chop and share.
Kiyari: Me, na Atiikuu I go mobilise for because na fellow northerner and professional presidential candidate. Make no hypocrite come dey do like saint for where I dey o. If no bi for wetin happen to me, I for don open Obbi yansh nah. You sabi say na thief dey know how to catch thief. See di man wey admit say im put state money inside private account come dey claim saint now.
Hushpuppi: Na di same man get foreign accounts while serving as governor o.
Obi: Seriously, are you guys comparing Nigeria’s foremost principalities, Bourdillon and Atiikuu, with Obbi? Are you guys mad?
Hushpuppi: We no mad. E gbe kini yi wa, Bourdillon lo kan! Giam Bourdillon, na im turn!
Obi: Hush, you’re rooting for someone who owns the treasury and state of Lagos since 1999? I know we’re scammers, but, please, let’s say the truth for once! Obbi is not in the same class with Bourdillon and Atiikuu. Never! Oil doesn’t mix with water.
Kiyari: Abeg, leave story! No bi una people dey call Nigeria zoo before? When did the zoo turn into paradise? The North will never allow your people to rule. Never!
Obi: Kiyari, you prefer to die worshipping someone who privatised all Nigeria’s assets into his pocket, ehn? America jail im senator, Jefferson, wey folo Atiiku do deal but some people big pass the law for Naija.
Kiyari: Leave us alone. We no dey jail for North.
Obi: You, Hush, your candidate na real bat: fake origin, fake parentage. No visible investment, yet e sit on top multibillion political empire wey consist governors, ministers, senators, representatives, CEOs etc.
Hushpuppi: Who no dey fantastically corrupt among Nigerian leaders? Mention one.
Obi: No dey compare whistle with thunder, Ofe-mmanu. Pickpocket different from armed robber, Mala (fool).
Hushpuppi: Na you sabi, Ajòkúta-mámumi.
Kyari: Hush, leave the Nyamiri alone. Dem tink say dem wise. When Obbi queue behind Atiikuu four years ago, Atiikuu na saint. But now, na devil.
Obi: Let’s leave pettiness, Ofe-mmanu and Aboki; Nigeria needs rescue fast!
Hushpuppi: Continue with your internet terrorism as if na only eastern votes go win di election.
Obi: Obbi is young, healthy and willing to serve.
Kiyari: Make e carry im will go wilderness.
Hushpuppi: All Bible prophets na old men.
Obi: Bullion vans, senator wife, Iyaloja daughter, billionaire son, missing secondary school certificate…
Hushpuppi: Leave am, e don repent. Obbi daughter no dey Pandora Papers?
Kiyari: What of Obbi wey list im high credit score as qualification for presidency?
Hushpuppi: Dat na anoda misleading claim. Even me wey dey jail get highest credit score. Any idiot can have highest credit score nah.
Obi: Una sabi say Igbo bi di most enterprising tribe for Naija. We go survive if heaven fall.
Hushpuppi: Ta! Enterprising kill you there! Stinking arrogance!
Obi: Ok, make una continue with una madness.
Kiyari: Na we own Naija.
Hushpuppi: Jaga lokan.