No money was given — Presidency
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—The N100 million cash gift allegedly given to parents of abducted Chibok girls when they met President Goodluck Jonathan on July 22 at the Presidential Villa is now causing disquiet among the aggrieved parents.
They have reported ly cried out that they have been cheated by their community leaders in the sharing formula.
The Presidency allegedly handed over the money to leaders of the Chibok community in Abuja for onward presentation to parents of the abducted schoolgirls.
According to a report monitored on Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, however, some of the parents are now alleging that the Abuja-based community leaders have shortchanged them.
One parent, who was among those who visited the President, told BBC that he got only N200,000.
He said: “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 also said that he was not comfortable with the way the money was shared among parents of the kidnapped girls.
According to him: “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”.
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, some got N300 and below,” he said.
The parents stressed that they were not selling their daughters and that the money from the President just came to them as they neither asked for, nor expected it.
One of the community leaders, Pobu Bitrus, who is also a member of the House of Representatives and was at the meeting with the President explained to the BBC that after meeting with the President, monies were distributed to the parents in envelopes.
“After we met with the president, 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.
No money was given — Presidency
In its reaction, yesterday, the Presidency however said that it never gave N100 million to parents of the abducted school girls, who were at the Presidential Villa, Abuja last week, saying the story was absolutely false.
In a text message to Vanguard yesterday, Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, who noted that the government only took care of the parents’ accommodation and feeding, said “the story is absolute falsehood.
“The President did not give any N100m to the visitors from Chibok. Government took care of their accommodation, feeding and transportation.
“Government’s plan is robust rehabilitation and resettlement of the girls who have escaped so they can continue their education.
“The government also plans to rebuild the school and in general terms, repair damaged infrastructure as a result of Boko Haram insurgency in the North East.”
Three months after the Chibok girls were abducted, President Jonathan finally agreed to meet with their parents following an appeal by the Pakistan girl-child education activist Malala Yusoufai. The Presidency had faced intense criticism over its handling of the kidnap of the Chibok girls being held by the extremist Boko Haram sect since April 14.