Daily Trust (Abuja)

31 July 2014

Nigeria: 'How Presidency Shared Money to Chibok Parents, Girls'

Representatives of Chibok people resident in Abuja yesterday said the Presidency gave monetary gifts directly to the parents of the kidnapped Chibok girls when they visited President Jonathan recently.

Presidential spokesman Rueben Abati had said on Tuesday that no money was given to the parents and the girls when they met with the President last week.

He was reacting to reports that the money had caused bickering among parents, some of whom alleged having being short changed.

But spokesman of the Kibaku Area Development Association, Dauda Iliya, who spoke yesterday at a news conference in Abuja, said money was actually shared to the parents and the girls by a special assistant of the president.

He said the association never handled the money, as it was given directly to the parents and the girls.

Iliya said, "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, intra-city transportation while in Abuja.

"We specifically conveyed our stand in that regard by a letter dated 18th July, 2014 of which copies are available for your perusal. The Presidency agreed to our request and made the arrangements for the conveyance of the parents and escaped girls from Chibok to Abuja, accommodated them and was responsible for their feeding and local transit.

"It is noteworthy that our primary and only 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 of money."

Iliya added: "We therefore make public our findings as follows:

"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 on the side of the Presidency, visited the hotel and told the 51 escaped girls who came that the Presidency sent them a token of N100,000.00 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 N200,000.00 each to 61 parents out of the 122 parents that came on the visit. 51 Parents were given N100,000.00 each on the basis that the money given to him was not enough to go round at N200,000.00. 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 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 dishonor to our community in the eyes of the public that has supported us since the abduction of our daughters."

Daily Trust tried but could not not reach the presidential aide mentioned as having shared the money to the parents and the girls.

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