By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The Africa Support and Empowerment Initiative (AFRISEI) has rejected allegations of franchise infringement by the Bring Back Our Girls group, led by former Education Minister, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili.
In statement jointly signed by the President of the Non-Governmental Organisation, Hajiya Hadiza Buhari Bello, a daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari and the secretary, Don Uche, the group said it was a responsible body that would never engage in illegal activities by stealing someone else’s franchise.
It explained that contrary to Dr. Ezekwesili’s allegation, the organisation did not need to lean on the BBOG to be of service to the Chibok Girls and therefore had no reason to steal anything from BBOG or use its name to achieve any advantage.
AFRISEI said it had its own defined objectives and that it didn’t need to steal anybody’s ideas to operate in line with its own objectives.
The organisation said it was duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and was issued a certificate of incorporation on 14th July, 2016.
While praising the activities of the BBOG to raise and sustain awareness about the plight of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, the group said that its organisation had broader objectives beyond the Chibok girls.
It said that though the Chibok girls were within the priority of the organisation, its commitments to humanitarian causes didn’t end with Chibok schoolgirls.
“Given the size of the problem at hand, the more Organisations we have assisting Chibok and other devastated communities, the better for the country.
“As a charitable organisation, AFRISEI is committed to empowering the youth and the less privileged in the area of job creation and skill acquisition.
“It is also committed to supporting the education of the less privileged students, giving material support to the downtrodden the internally displaced persons”, it explained.
The statement said AFRISEI was committed to educating the masses to discourage unhealthy practices such as child trafficking, child abuse, child labour and gender discrimination.
The AFRISEI President and secretary said there was no law that prevented their organisation from assisting the Chibok schoolgirls, adding that, as a charity organisation, they offer help to people in distress, including the Chibok girls and the Boko Haram victims.