Sophie Enitan, one of the innocent Nigerian civil society actors whose names were mentioned in a fraudulent $78,748 funding request to the London-based International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) by ‘young leader’ Jeremiah Offor, has received a threat after FIJ’s story.
On Friday, FIJ had reported how Offor, 25, approached the IPPF for the fund to help adolescent girls in Borno State access safe abortion. IPPF approved the proposal and in December 2019 released about $40,000 (N16million) initial tranche from its Safe Abortion Action Fund (SAAF), where changemakers around the world source finances for health-related actions.
Offor, then country coordinator of the now-defunct Nigeria Chapter of the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning (IYAFP), a pro-choice civil society organisation based in Washington, US, had requested for the fund on behalf of the organization and had featured some members in the proposal without their consent. However, the money was embezzled without the execution of the project.
A day after the story was published, Enitan received an SMS from Daniel Nwabuma, Offor’s close friend, threatening a reprisal attack for tarnishing his name.
“You cannot exempt yourself from this problem you are trying to create,” the SMS reads in part. “Just know that from me, and for the records, you tarnishing my name with IYAFP focal group picture is laughable. It will get messier shortly.”
Contrary to Offor’s belief, FIJ’s investigation did not emanate from Enitan, but from a tip-off by someone who had read FIJ’s story about an American couple running a Nigeria-based NGO without accountability.
Enitan was contacted by the FIJ just like everyone else with links to the project. And while Offor and his cronies declined to talk, Enitan explained her innocence. She, like two other people innocently included by Offor in the grant in request without their knowledge, had lost an important position with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG). As a result, she told FIJ when contacted that she was neither carried along in the process nor received a dime from Offor.
Nwabuma, a medical biochemist who was also featured in the application and another equally fraudulent grant request to the UK Partnerships for Health Systems (UKPHS), did not respond to FIJ’s queries on the initial story.
In the UKPHS funding application, Nwabuma was described as “a medical doctor who had worked in a Nigerian hospital during the 2014 Ebola outbreak”.
“My fears are these guys could hurt me,” said Enitan. “Nwabuma sent me some messages last year, when he and Offor were trying to make me accept money from them.”
When contacted this time, Nwabuma said the SMS was not a threat.
“If you want to know much about what the SMS meant, you can go check my rebuttal statement,” he said. “It’s on the internet already; just the way it was published.”
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