Kasim Sumaina and Oluwatosin Komolafe in Abuja
The BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) group has condemned in strong terms what it describes as an attempt to smear its reputation built over the years following information reaching it of an event tagged: ‘Official Inauguration and Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Chibok Girls Endowment Project’.
In reaction to the alleged meeting of BBOG and stakeholders monday in Abuja, where a cheque for N3.5 million was handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter and President of Africa Support and Empowerment Initiative (AFRISEI), Hadiza Buhari, by the Commandant of Peace Corps, Dickson Akoh, as a paltry contribution to the general welfare and basic needs of the released Chibok Girls, the conveners of BBOG, Aisha Yesufu and Oby Ezekwesili, in a statement said:
“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.”
According to the BBOG leaders, “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 public to disregard attempts to link our movement to this highly suspicious event.”
The statement from the group read further that “after 902 days of painstaking advocacy, it is disheartening and unfortunate to suddenly see attempts, by external actors, using it for selfish purposes.
“We have carefully built our reputation as a well-organised and disciplined global movement that is completely self-funded.”
Stressing that the deliberate decision, to remain funded by sacrificial contributions of members for its negligible needs, is the “reason we are solely a citizens’ movement, and not an NGO. It will be highly injurious to allow it to be dragged in the mud at this point. We therefore demand an immediate retraction and unreserved apology from the organisers.”
Continuing, the statement said: “Together with our lawyers, Femi Falana & Co., we are considering a response to this attempt to smear our movement. We call on the public and law enforcement agencies to be on the look-out for unscrupulous persons who may already be planning similar nefarious acts to deceive the local and international community.”