Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
The #BringBackOurGirls coalition, has disowned a fund-raising organised in its name by President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter, Hadiza and a group, the Peace Corps of Nigeria, on Monday in Abuja.
The BBOG urged the public to disregard attempts at linking it to “this highly suspicious event.”
A non-governmental organisation, run by Hadiza, Africa Support and Empowerment Initiative, had signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the ‘Chibok Girls Endowment Project’ with the the Peace Corps during which N3m was said to have been raised for the Chibok schoolgirls.
But the BBOG in a statement by Co-coordinators, Oby Ezekwesili and Aisha Yusuf, said it was not a party to the alleged fund-raising, noting that it was shocked and perplexed by the use of its name at the event.
The coalition said after 902 days of advocacy for the release of the abducted Chibok girls, it was disheartening to see attempts by external actors to use its name for selfish purposes.
The movement noted that it had carefully built its reputation as a well-organised and disciplined global movement that is completely self-funded, adding that it had contacted its lawyer, Femi Falana and was considering a response to the attempt to smear its name.
The statement read, “Following repeated enquiries from the media, we stumbled upon information of an event tagged “Official Inauguration and Signing of Memorandum of Understanding on the Chibok Girls Endowment Project” organised by the “Peace Corps of Nigeria” and “Africa Support and Empowerment Initiative”, with Hadiza Buhari-Bello.
“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.”
“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 look-out for unscrupulous persons who may already be/are planning similar nefarious acts to deceive the local and international community.”
The group said it was a citizens’ movement and not a non-governmental organisation, hence the decision to fund its activities by sacrificial contributions of members.
“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 organizers,” it stated.
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Adelani Adepegba, Abuja