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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Jonathans Gift: Chibok Girls Parents, Community Leaders Clash

Controversy has erupted between parents of the kidnapped girls and leadersof the Chibok community in Abuja over an alleged N100million cash gift given by President Goodluck Jonathan.

PUNCH reports that some of the parents, who spoke in separate interviews on Tuesday with the British Broadcasting Corporation Hausa service, accused the Chibok community leaders of making a fortune out of their misfortune.
One parent said: 
When we came to Abuja, we were given some money. I received N200,000, some got N300,000 and some got nothing at all. Somebody told me that they (Presidency) gave about N100m.
Another parent claimed that some of them that did not make the Abuja trip received as low as N7,000.
He said:
I was not able to go to Abuja; they chose some people from among us. Some received N100,000, some received N200,000, some N300,000. Those of us in the village were given N7,000. This is not a thing of joy. What we want are our girls to be brought back home.
Asked if he preferred to collect the money instead of the return of his daughter, he replied:
We have not sold our daughters. I went to the farm and before I returned, the money was kept for me. This is not right.
The BBC had in the report said the parents were given sums ranging from N30,000 to N300,000.
The Chairman of the Kibaku area Development Association, Abuja chapter, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, who spoke on behalf of the Chibok community in Abuja, dismissed allegation against his group.
He also told the BBC that no Chibok parent could accuse him and members of the group of indifference to the plight of the kidnapped girls.
Pogu said:
We dont know how much was given but we are glad to note that the parents and the girls (who escaped) were given money in envelopes. The only role we played was to contact them to prepare to come to Abuja.
He also told one ofPunch’s correspondents that the money that was shared to the Chibok parents was handled by Aso Rock officials.
He said:
The report is a lie, we (community leaders) didnt share any money. The money that was shared to the parents in envelopes was shared by Presidency officials. How can they even give out N100m? We Nigerians just like stories. How can they give out such an amount of money? I dont know how much they gave because I didnt collect money, we Chibok elders only led them (parents of abducted girls and some escaped girls) to the President for the meeting. All these stories of N100m is just a bullshit; there is nothing like that and it is even funny talking about such a thing.
Also, the Chairman of the Chibok community, Tsambido Abana, dismissed the allegation that the largesse was shared among the parents and that some were shortchanged by the leadership of the association.
He said:
There is no iota of truth in that report. I dont even want to talk about it because I dont know how such a story came about. The money that was shared to the parents was handled by Presidency officials who gave out envelopes to the parents, so I was not involved in the sharing and I cant say anything about it.The BringBackOurGirls group, has however come down hard on the Presidency for allegedly doling money to more the Chibok girls parents. It stated that the traumatised parents did not need money but psycho-social support.
The BBOG spokesman, Rotimi Olawale said:
Why should the Presidency give money to the parents? What is it meant for? It is a shameless thing to do. Is it money the parents need, because money cannot solve the trauma they are going through now. What the parents need is psycho-social support and this is what we expected the government to provide for them.For us in the BringBackOurGirls, our focus is on bringing back the girls and we cant be distracted by this controversy which was meant to cause disunity in the little Chibok community.
But the Presidency denied that money was given to the girls parents. Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati,said the onus lay on those who made the allegation to prove it.
He said:
The allegation is completely untrue. Nobody distributed any envelope after the meeting. The meeting was held in the Villa, a public place. After the meeting, the President left and the parents as well as the children went into their buses in the presence of the media. There was no time after the meeting when envelopes were distributed or money was given.The President is not part of it and will never do anything to bribe anybody. This issue is not about money. We are talking about human lives here. The allegation is completely wild. What they are claiming is unknown to the President. Whoever is claiming it should prove it because no such thing happened.The commitment of the President is to get the girls back safely. It is not about bribing anybody. This is a very serious matter and we will like to appeal to those who want to play politics with it, using all kinds of tricks to ridicule the efforts of the administration, to always appeal to their individual conscience and realize that what we are dealing with here is a very serious matter and not a matter of mischief.
Meanwhile, some residents of Maiduguri and Chibok in Borno State are apprehensive that Boko Haram may have started deploying the over 200 schoolgirls it abducted in April 14 as suicide bombers. News that some girls aged between 15 and 19 (the age bracket of the abducted female pupils) were involved in suicide bombings in Kano on Sunday and Monday raised the fears of the residents.
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