BBOG Faults Buhari’s Daughter Attempt to Profit from Chibok Girls Campaign
The Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group on Monday condemned an attempt by a group associated with Hadiza Buhari-Bello, President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter, to raise funds for Chibok girls using the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ brand name.
The Africa Support and Empowerment Initiative headed by Buhari-Bello had at its event on Monday received a donation of N3.5m from the Peace Corps of Nigeria among other donations.
The group stated that the donations would go into an endowment fund for the over 200 girls kidnapped from Chibok secondary school in Borno state, 21 of whom were recently released.
The “BringBackOurGirls” tag line was boldly inscribed on the backdrop of the event.
Reacting to the fundraising however, the BBOG which has organised a daily sit-out in Abuja as well as several engagements with the government to call for the rescue of the girls, described Monday’s event as opportunistic.
The advocacy group led by Mrs Oby Ezekwesili disassociated itself from the event and promised to issue a response through its lawyer, Mr Femi Falana SAN.
In a preliminary statement signed by Ezekwesili and Aisha Yesufu, the group said the organisers of the event were trying to smear its hard-earned name.
The BBOG group emphasised that it was a self-funded movement, and not a money-making NGO, reports The Sun.
“Following repeated enquiries from the media, we stumbled upon information of an event tagged ‘Official Inauguration and Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Chibok Girls Endowment Project’ organised by the ‘Peace Corps of Nigeria’ and ‘Africa Support and Empowerment Initiative,’ with Hadiza Buhari-Bello,” the statement read.
“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.
“After 902 days of painstaking advocacy, it is disheartening and unfortunate to suddenly see attempts, by external actors, to use it for selfish purposes. We have carefully built our reputation as a well-organised and disciplined global movement that is completely self-funded.
“The deliberate decision, to remain funded by sacrificial contributions of members for our very negligible needs, is the reason we are solely a Citizens’ Movement, and not an NGO. 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 organisers,” the statement read.
In its reaction to the BBOG statement however, Buhari-Bello’s group has said it is raising the funds purely for the Chibok girls and would be glad to make the BBOG a signatory to the account.