…Chairman/CEO on the run, ignores all phone calls.
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Representatives of the pathetic Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Southern Kaduna on Thursday levelled allegations of false promises, exploitation and issuance of a bounce cheque of N20 million by Hope for Nigeria (HFN), and called on relevant authorities to intervene on their behalf.
This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday in Kaduna and signed by one Mrs. Alice Emmanuel on behalf of “Committee of the Identification and Verification of Claims by Displaced Victims of attacks in Southern Kaduna.”
The committee, reportedly inaugurated by the NGO ‘Hope for Nigeria,’ alleged that they were made to sell forms to poor displaced farmers under the guise of securing Skill Acquisition but no training was done and the monies were not refunded as contained in the statement below.
The committee in a press statement formally made its position on Hope for Nigeria, calling for urgent intervention from relevant authority.
“We the aforementioned members of this committee wish to bring to your attention a very disturbing development, which seeks urgent intervention by relevant bodies, because the issue at stake is not only brewing tension in affected communities of Southern Kaduna, but it is also placing our safety and security in danger.
“Sometimes in April 2023, a certain organization, called ‘Hope for Nigeria,’ approached some members of this committee saying, it was a humanitarian organization with a track record of assisting indigent persons, especially the less-privileged, from the grassroots, and the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) like the thousands in Southern Kaduna.
“Mrs Alice Emmanuel was first contacted and she showed commitment to the idea. From there, she took them to the CAN Chairman in Atyap Chiefdom and to the District Head of Ungwan Gaiya.
“In order to convince them that ‘Hope For Nigeria’ was not a 419 organization, they took them to one of their parked vehicles which was filled with electronic gadgets. There, they opened a computer and showed them their Bank Balance, which showed that they had cash running into billions. This convinced the hosts that the organisation was not fake.
“Mrs Emmanuel Alice, who was made Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) Coordinator for the LGA, was tasked to recruit 15 staff for the organisation as foundation staff for Southern Kaduna intervention, which she did promptly.
“As the coordinator, she was to earn N100,000 per month, while the remaining staff were placed on monthly salaries ranging from 25,000 to N50,000, based on their ratings.
“Mrs Emmanul was promoted from being a Local Government Coordinator to become the Southern Kaduna Regional Coordinator with promise of a car which would be delivered on 21st May, 2023.
“It was out of this understanding that the new team started work, collating needed information for the organisation. Today, the staff strength of Southern Kaduna is not less than 800, spread in 5 LGAs,” she added.
“Shortly after, Hope For Nigeria said that it wanted to have an audience with the less-privileged, and our IDPs of Zangon Kataf LGA. In no time, we sent word to our IDPs, who were taking refuge in different areas, including the ones that were stationed at IDP Camp of Samaru Kataf, Zangon Kataf LGA,” it stated.
“The turnout was unexpected, as no less than 10,000 less-privileged from the grassroots and IPDs crowded the venue of the meeting, which was Kaduna State School of Agricultural Technology, Samaru Kataf, on the 24 April, 2023. The CEO and Chairman of Hope for Nigeria, Mr Kerry Kenu Sholaye, and Dr. Moses Terkaa Chooji (the Head of Admin) and his team came with a media crew.
“He spoke very well and gave hope to our people, who were already undergoing misery out of neglect by the government. It was on that day that he inaugurated our committee, which also included members of his new staff.
“Our primary assignment was to identify families that were genuinely affected by the violence and to verify claims of what they have lost or suffered.
“There and then, he declared a donation of N40 million to the IDPs, which he said will be delivered in two tranches of N20 million each. He then brought out a cheque of N20 million and wrote the cheque of FCMB in the name of Alice Emmanuel. The cheque was to mature on May 22, 2023.
“200 families were penciled down for the first tranche and each was to get N100,000 each. Sholaye said that 400 families will first benefit before extension is made to cover more IDPs. The crowd broke forth into ululation, songs and dance in appreciation of the donation made to our distressed persons,” it stated.
The committee lamented that, “Unfortunately, that happiness and great expectation has turned out to be a harrowing experience to us the committee members and, therefore, expressed sadness, adding, “Since that N20m ‘cheque’ was written, all attempts to cash the cheque failed, as it always turned out to be a dude cheque, since May 22nd, 2023.
“The car promised to the Southern Kaduna Regional Coordinator, which was supposed to have been delivered on May 21st, 2023, is yet to arrive.
“Four months after employment of 30 foundational staff, which present numerical strength is not less than 800, a single kobo has not been paid to anyone, despite the field work done for the organisation.
“The Skill Acquisition Center promised by ‘Hope for Nigeria’ where 10 different skills were to be taught has never materialised.
“We have sold and registered over 1,000 forms on behalf of Hope for Nigeria for those interested in skills acquisition among our suffering villagers at the cost of N1,050 (One thousand Fifty Naira) each, amounting to over a million naira, but nothing has been said to them from the organisation.
“From the instruction of management, through the Head of Admin of the organization, N546,650 (five hundred and forty-six thousand, six hundred and fifty naira) was paid into Dr. Moses Terkaa Chooji’s account, which we found curious.
“We members of the committee have come under severe pressure from our communities, especially from families, who were selected for the N100,000 donation. Many are of the belief that we have collected the N20 million and have resulted in playing ‘games’ with them.
“Those who registered with the sum of N1,050 also are on our necks, asking for a refund or the training be carried out. These developments are affecting the peace of our minds and are even a security risk to us every day in our villages.
“Members of the Press, we have done all within our powers traveling to-and-fro Kaduna seeking audience with Mrs. Josephine Ugwuoke (Kaduna State Coordinator) to link us with National Chairman and CEO of Hope for Nigeria, Sholaye, who issued the N20m Cheques and made those unfulfilled promises. All we get are rude remarks and sometimes even threats.
“When we were able to eventually reach Sholaye, he rebuffed us and warned us never to have direct dealings with him,” they said.
When contacted for balance, on phone supplied by victims’ leader, the Chairman, CEO of Hope For Nigeria, Kerry Ken Sholaye, neither picked nor responded to calls or SMS sent or chatted on.