‘Govt gave Chibok girls’ parents N22.4m’
Did money change hands when some parents of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls visited the Presidential Villa?
The controversy raged on yesterday, with the leadership of the Kibaku Area Development Association (KADA), the group representing the Chibok people in Abuja have denied knowledge of a N100 million Presidential gift to the delegation that visited the President Goodluck Jonathan.
Instead, they said that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Duties, Prof. Dan Adebiyi, after the visit, visited the hotel in the night and told the girls, who escaped from the Boko Haram insurgents, that the Presidency had sent them a token of N100,000 each. Of the 122 parents who visited, he gave 61 N200,000 each and 51 N100,000 each. The remaining 10 parents were told that the money was finished, KADA said.
KADA stated that it got no money and neither did Adebiyi, who co-ordinated the visit, tell them before sharing the money.
They said that the sharing formula adopted by the Presidency has brought reproach to their community in the eyes of the public which has supported them since the abduction of the over 200 Government Secondary School, Chibok girls whose kidnapping on April 15 sparked a global outrage.
At a press brief, organised by the leadership of KADA and a statement read by its spokesperson Dauda Iliya said the controversial cash was N1 million given to the parents by the member of the House of Reps representing Chibok/Damboa/Gwoza Federal Constituency, Hon. Biye Gumtha.
His words: “It is noteworthy that our primary goal is the safe return of the girls that are still in captivity. It is sad that we are losing sight of this to the allegation of sharing money. We therefore want the world to understand that we, KADA stand by our earlier position and did not demand, receive or handle any finances throughout the process of the visit.
“On the night of the 22nd July, 2014 at about midnight, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Duties who had been co-ordinating the visit of the side of the Presidency, visited the hotel and told the 51 escaped girls who came that the President sent them a token of N100,000 each and accordingly gave them the said sum without prior discussion with any KADA official or any other person in the community.
“He equally gave the sum of N200,000 each to 61 parents out of the 122 parents that came on the visit. 51 parents were given N100,000 each on the basis that the money given to him was not enough to go round at N200,000. The remaining 10 parents were not given any amount of money.
“As for the money given to some parents back home in Chibok, it was the sum of N1,000,000.00 given to them by the Hon. Member of the House of Reps. Representing Chibok/Damboa/Gwoza Federal Constituency, which is the source of the alleged N7,000.00 given to parents in Chibok that were not part of the visit.
“While we acknowledge that any well intended support for our suffering population which has lost its means of livelihood since the events of April 14 and subsequent attacks could be welcome, however the approach that the Presidency adopted has brought reproach and dishonour to our community in the eyes of the public that has supported us since the abduction of our daughters.
“We hereby state categorically that no amount of money whatsoever was given to KADA leadership to share among the parents and escaped girls or for whatsoever reason and therefore the allegation is completely baseless, false and malicious.
“We clearly spelt out to the Presidency through the office of the Chief of Staff that we shall not be involved with any financial transaction whatsoever, including payment of transportation from Chibok to Yola, flight by air from Yola to Abuja, hotel accommodation and feeding in Abuja, and intra-city transportation while in Abuja.
“When the Presidency requested us to invite parents and escaped Chibok girls against 22nd July, 2014, we accepted the responsibility on the condition that we shall facilitate by way of contacting and mobilizing the parents and escaped girls thereby playing the sole role of facilitators.”
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