The BringBackOurGirls, BBOG group has slammed President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter, Hadiza Buhari-Bello, for using its name to raise funds for Chibok girls.
Ms. Buhari-Bello organised an event on Monday, October 17, 2016 where the Peace Corps of Nigeria donated N3.5 million to her NGO, the Africa Support and Empowerment Initiative. The donation was towards an endowment fund for the Chibok girls.
There wouldn’t be a problem about her initiative if ‘BringBackOurGirls’ wasn’t printed on the backdrop banner for the fundraiser.
Oby Ezekwesili, a co-founder of the BringBackOurGirls movement, has issued a statement co-signed by Aisha Yesufu, disassociated itself from the event. The group promised to respond through its lawyer, Femi Falana.
The statement claimed that President Buhari’s daughter was trying to smear it’s “hard-earned name” because it is a self-funded group and not a “money-making NGO”.
#BringBackOurGirls campaigners protest the abducted in the remote village of Chibok of 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram, during a protest at Unity Park in Abuja May 11, 2014. | Reuters/Joe
“Following repeated enquiries from the media, we stumbled upon information of an event tagged ‘Official Inauguration and Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Chibok Girls Endowment Project’ organised by the ‘Peace Corps of Nigeria’ and ‘Africa Support and Empowerment Initiative,’ with Hadiza Buhari-Bello,” the statement read.
“We are shocked, perplexed and completely dumbfounded to see the bold inscription of our hard-earned name, #BringBackOurGirls, on the event’s backdrop. We state categorically that we are not party to the said event and have absolutely no information of its origin. We urge the general public to disregard attempts at linking our movement to this highly suspicious event.
“After 902 days of painstaking advocacy, it is disheartening and unfortunate to suddenly see attempts, by external actors, to use it for selfish purposes. We have carefully built our reputation as a well-organised and disciplined global movement that is completely self-funded.
“The deliberate decision, to remain funded by sacrificial contributions of members for our very negligible needs, is the reason we are solely a Citizens’ Movement, and not an NGO. It will be highly injurious to allow it be dragged in the mud at this point. We therefore demand an immediate retraction and unreserved apology from the organisers.
“Together with our lawyers, Femi Falana & Co., we are considering a response to this attempt to smear our movement. We call on the general public and law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for unscrupulous persons who may already be/are planning similar nefarious acts to deceive the local and international community.”
“I tried to contact members of the group, but I couldn’t reach any of them,” Onwuka Don Uche, a scribe for the NGO told TheCable.
“I dropped a message for Oby Ezekwesili on Twitter, but there was no response. We will reach out to group. It is purely a fund for the Chibok girls, and we want to make BBOG a signatory to the account.”