An alleged N100million cash gift given to parents of abducted Chibok girls by President Goodluck Jonathan after a meeting at the Presidential villa on July 22 has sparked disagreement between some of the parents and leaders of the Chibok community in Abuja, a BBC Hausa service report was quoted yesterday by Premium Times, an online medium.
The presidency, the report said, allegedly released the funds to leaders of the Chibok community in Abuja for onward passage to parents of the kidnapped schoolgirls.
But the presidency, last night, denied giving any money.
But some of the parents are now alleging they were shortchanged by the community leaders. One parent, who was among those who visited the president, told BBC’s Abdu Halilu that he got only N200,000. “I got only N200,000 out of the said N100million allegedly received by our leaders in Abuja. Some of us got N300,000 and some less than that,” he said. He also said that he was not comfortable with the way the money was shared among the parents of the kidnapped girls and that he was shortchanged.
“Our leaders in Abuja are using the girls to enrich themselves. In fact, some of the parents were screened out of the entourage by the Chibok leaders in Abuja. Many of them are residents of Abuja, not parents of the kidnapped girls,” he said. Another parent, who was screened out of the delegation that visited the president, said he got only N7,000 out of the money shared. “I was at the farm when they brought the N7, 000 to my house and I collected it. Some of us got even less, N300 and below,” he said. The parents said they were not selling their daughters and that the money from the President just came to them without their asking for or expecting it. One of the community leaders, Pobu Bitrus, who is also a member of the House of Representatives, was at the meeting with the president. He explained to the BBC that after meeting with the president, monies were distributed to the parents in envelopes. “After we met with the presidency, the parents were given monies in envelopes and that’s all. All other things they are saying about N100million, I don’t know about that,” Mr. Bitrus said.
Reacting last night, Leader of Bringbackthe girls campaigns in Abuja, Dr Oby Ezekwesili twitted.
“I wish Chibok parents resisted the filthy lucre. Really wish they did. How more can divise the agory of a missing child? We shall stand”.
Presidency denies giving monetary gift to Chibok parents
The Presidency yesterday denied parting with monetary gifts to some parents of the over 200 secondary school girls abducted in Chibok, Borno State by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
The parents met with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa last week Tuesday.
Reacting to the report that money was given to Chibok parents, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati 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.”
Stressing that the President will never do anything to bribe anybody, he said: “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, he said, is to get the girls back safely and 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.” He stated