By Emmanuel Ogebe
I just returned to the US from the field where I was working with victims as I have since 2000 and litigating a defamation case against the Nigerian Government only to find my reputation savagely ravaged by your article of April 14th on the above subject. I initially thought it to be desperate click-bait but it is more sinister – an unvarnished hit job.
Your hack attack did not care about 93 abducted schoolgirls who I have advocated for and were just reported dead after 4 years. Nor about the released Chibok girl who attempted suicide in the Nigerian Government’s custody after surviving years in a Boko Haram camp. You didn’t care about another girl forced by the government to Islam after courageously escaping from years of captivity. Of course you wouldn’t mention the AP report that cited the Nigerian Government for putting the 106 freed girls in another form of prison.
Rather you dusted up a covert op dossier put together by Nigeria’s National Intelligence Agency with the collaboration of a rogue republican operative, who once betrayed personal confidences of a US president he was serving, and gave a creative work in personal destruction the toga of a WSJ report.
You conveniently were disinterested that ALL the girl survivors who graduated from my program are now in colleges across the US while those taken away by the government have a 60% GED failure rate after a costly $1 million and 2 years of attempts even though I had a fraction of their resources.
You didn’t care that two of the girls “rescued” from the home of a Pastor in a wealthy McClean VA suburb were placed by the government in Bronx New York where one girl mysteriously converted to Islam – after I helped her flee forced conversion by Boko Haram Terrorists in Nigeria.
No. Your focus was on an impudent and ungrateful young lady who was upset at me for not giving her the kind of phone she wanted – twice – and the fabrications of glory hunters who didn’t have the courage to go help the girls in Africa but rather jumped on the bandwagon after I brought them here.
That the generality of the girls have reconciled, apologized and recanted the fake accusations they were put up to in the intervening years wasn’t your concern either.
Your scorched earth article was to embarrass everyone possible who’d helped in a poorly-veiled low-tech lynching of Emmanuel. Congresswoman Wilson (D-FL) who has done more for the girls in America and in captivity than any other American alive from the day she first met them on a high-risk Congressional delegation to Nigeria was easy canon fodder for your readership having herself faced death threats for speaking out about Trump’s poor remarks to the widow of Green Beret LaJohnson.
Heroic congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) whose courageous trip to Nigeria where he was the first official of any government to meet an escaped Chibok girl was also mentioned for effect in furtherance of this equal opportunity excoriation expedition.
The irony that a supposedly conservative US newspaper is cuddling a pro Islamist Nigerian government that has condoned the weekly slaughter of Christians by Muslim Killer Herdsmen from president Buhari’s Fulani tribe is huge.
More still the hypocrisy that the media is accusing me of putting the girls in the media. They interviewed the lady to complain that she was made to do interviews. Now, that’s rich!
I should have known from the first question I was asked that this piece would be a farrago of lies. Drew Hinshaw told me he’d heard from Leah’s parents that I was taking her to America. Leah is a Christian schoolgirl still held hostage by Boko Haram because she refused to renounce Christ. I had no such conversation with anyone as I would hate to see Leah’s heroic faith corrupted in America like the Chibok girls’ experience.
Oddly enough he asked how many times I took the girls to church to which I replied “if it’s wrong to take Christian girls to church then I wear that as a badge of honor. At least I didn’t take them to a strip club.” Seeing WSJ make light of my advocacy on the genocide against Christians in Nigeria was deeply troubling and honoring to me. How indeed the mighty have fallen that a nation birthed by those fleeing persecution now seeks to persecute one who helped others flee persecution!
Curiously both those two points were strongly canvassed in the Nigerian government’s secret memo and in the five or so interrogations I have been subjected to by their military intelligence since 2015 – all to no avail thus the desperate recourse to character assassination!
My legal team are intrigued by the timing of the WSJ call which came moments after I had given evidence in my defamation lawsuit against the Nigerian Government in a case in which they proffered no defense. Their initial theory was that it was a proxy fishing expedition for the Nigerian Government to uncover the secrets of my case (in the past we had journalists asking and leaking our information to them for over a year.)
However after the blatant falsehoods published, it is obvious that this WSJ article served directly to make the government’s case in the court of public opinion and undermine the case in an actual court. Incidentally, this is not the first time the Nigerian Government has used this strategy in the US. Their technique seems to be to inflict further defamation here in the US to take advantage of sovereign immunity protections hoping I can’t sue them in the US while stalling my lawsuit in Nigeria where I have sued. We have our suspicions on how WSJ obtained the NIA memo.
Even the notorious American Amway pyramid schemer who wanted to pawn the girls off to a friend in exchange for a $300,000 payoff to his school was given a free pass.
My family and I who opened our home and our hearts and struggled to pay out-of-state college tuition for girls for several years after we fell victim to his bait and switch have to live with the ingratitude and jealousy of those who couldn’t make it to college and those who couldn’t milk us as they wanted.
I find comfort in a famous man’s words “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
This speaker came from a place of comfort to help and heal the poor. Yet he ended up executed thanks to religious leaders no less…
This article is totally unbecoming of the Wall Street Journal and is more like a Bronx Street Junknal tabloid. If the FBI was able to uncover crimes involving people around the US president in less than a year, why is it taking them 3 years to take me down despite incessant pressure from the Nigerian embassy and provocateur Doug Wead? That’s because I am innocent!
Not only didn’t you ask me about most of the junk you published, you didn’t publish most of what I actually said. I wonder even if you would do me the common decency of publishing my response.
Worse still you call the Chibok schoolgirls “Boko Haram girls” showing your own crass insensitivity to them. This is just a bloodsport for you – if it bleeds, it leads. The full blown racist comments trailing the story are a typical microcosm of the alt right extremism engendered by the POTUS.
It is my prayer that the tribe of kindhearted humans will not diminish because of this disastrous piece you have written to demonize those who have done nothing but good to these ones. If “no good deed goes unpunished” then my Chibok schoolgirls’ sponsorship project is the good deed that keeps on punishing.
As Christ said when he was threatened that Herod would kill him, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you” (Luke 13:32-34.)
I told WSJ I have been imprisoned and tortured by the Nigerian army in the dictatorship under which current president Gen. Buhari last served in the ’90s prior to my exile to the US. If 14 year old Christian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu can stare down armed jihadi terrorists in a remote island enclave and refuse to deny Christ, then by Jove WSJ and the Nigerian government better snuff me out as their effort to silence me after a quarter century of Human Rights work won’t cut it. Your report deserves a Bull-itzer prize for falsehood. I call BS
Emmanuel Ogebe is an international Human Rights Lawyer and advocate for the persecuted based in Washington DC USA
SUMMARY OF CHIBOK 4TH ANNIVERSARY REMARKS & RESPONSE TO CONTINUING INJURIOUS FALSEHOODS: NIGERIA’S GOVERNMENT IS A MASS MANUFACTURER OF FAILURE
Members of the press,
- On the Chibok 4th anniversary our hearts go out to the parents. The news of over 90 dead is concerning and there’s need for the government to disclose the truth of what they know especially since the mass deaths have been attributed to them. The Dapchi abduction seems to be an indication that there are no more Chibok girls left to ransom thus they need for a “quick win” with the Dapchi schoolgirl “catch and release” affair. With the news of 93 Chibok girls dead, we can now understand why Dapchi was perpetrated. As a notable expert on the issue, we have tracked the reported casualties over time from 1 Chibok girl dead to 6, to 13 to 60 and finally now 93 as reported.
- The Chibok girls in US. All the Chibok girls who graduated from my project are now in universities across the US. However those the Nigerian government took over and allegedly spent $1 million were in an adult education program for almost 2 years. With a fraction of the resources our girls academically outpaced their peers in the million dollar Nigerian government arrangement. Worse still the Govt placed them in Bronx New York infamous as one of the deadliest and most notorious ghettoes in the US. As recent as this year, the girls indicated constant sounds of gunfire in their neighborhood. This is the best that Nigerians’ $1 million could do for them. The Nigerian govt has not only reinforced failure, it has marketed and exported failure internationally. That a mere individual with limited resources could groom Chibok schoolgirls who could barely communicate in English into universities in US while the entire weight and resources of the Buhari govt only produced mass failure with over 60% fail rate after $1 million is enough evidence that speaks for itself. Even some Chibok girls in Nigeria who passed NECO recently came to school in the US once again exceeding the performance of those the Nigerian Govt and Murtala Mohammed Foundation are managing.
- Defamation Lawsuit. I finally had my day in court on April 12 2018 after over a year. Aisha Alhassan and the government presented no defense. Rather media attacks on me continued. This is a classic signature of this administration- trial by media. While the civilized follow due process, they resort to barbaric tactics akin to a herdsman mentality of governance. While law abiding people are being asked to disarm or obey curfews, herdsmen are descending on them are massacring them in their hundreds. This is the mindset of this govt that while I am in court, they do not show up but continue to harass me in the media. I will continue this battle in court to its logical conclusion as I remain undeterred.
- Shiites. It is sad that General Buhari continues to unlawfully hold Sheikh El Zak Zaky. His supporters have peacefully protested for his release but been met with violence. Buhari has sown the seeds for another insurgency. Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable. The Buhari govt has killed more Shiites now than the number of Boko Haram members killed before they turned to insurgency. If we were protesting for the release of Leah Sharibu held by Boko Haram and others are protesting for the release of Zaky held by the FG, then what’s the difference between the govt and the terrorists? It’s time to free Zaky.
- Human rights. In the past 6 months, I have written half a dozen situation reports on IPOB and Herdsmen massacres in Miango, Benue etc. it is clear that Nigeria is unraveling at an alarming rate. It is also apparent that this administration totally lacks any iota of capacity for service delivery in the area of security, national unity, human rights or the economy. Buhari had no human rights record but even VP Osinbajo who understands human rights and could have cured him of this glaring human rights deficit has now also been rendered dysfunctional. This is an epitome of the problem of Nigeria that those who have no business being in government due to inherent incompetence direct those who are better. Buhari as civilian president has been responsible for more deaths of innocent Nigerians today than those killed during his rule as a military dictator 3 decades ago. The inescapable conclusion is that the solution to Nigeria’s problems can only be found in a new administration. This administration as currently constituted is a massive and irredeemable failure.
A vehicle was acquired for a Chibok family and assistance rendered victims from Benue, Plateau, Yobe and Borno during my current visit to Nigeria.
ON CONTINUING MEDIA ATTACKS: LAWYER FIRES BACK
– The Presidency asked me to raise funds when asked for assistance
– Chibok girl islamized in US after Buhari govt takeover
– Nigerian died in US embassy YALI program in America
- Firstly let me acknowledge and thank all the well wishers who have contacted me concerning the injurious falsehoods published against me. As a human rights advocate of over two decades I have seen it all, including imprisonment and torture by the Abacha regime which Buhari served. It is ironic that those who didn’t sacrifice for our democracy are the ones now misgoverning the nation
- Please understand that there is massive institutional racism in America but there is that too more subtly in mindsets are stereotyping. They would rather characterize their own “White messiahs” as heroes and demonize others than otherwise. The American swindler who duped both myself and the Nigerian government is well known and notorious in America but they protect their own. I do not blame the Americans as much as I blame the Nigerian government because of who’s serial failings, these people treat us as such. A president who delights in badmouthing his own citizens abroad can never be a good president. This is symptomatic of chronic inferiority complex of our misrulers.
- I was asked by the American media “how many times did you take them to church?”. I told them that if my crime was taking Christian girls to church then I wear that as a badge of honor. At least they didn’t say I took them to a strip club! Do you know some devilish Americans give the Chibok girls a phone number to the sexual trafficking victims hotline and told them to call and report that I had abducted them? They kept pressuring them for a whole year. So I trafficked the girls to the White House for Obama’s sexual pleasure or what? The madness of the set up is beyond belief.
I told the journalist the question they should be asking is how the Nigerian govt took a Chibok girl from an American pastor’s house in the richest neighborhood of Washington DC and put her in the deadliest ghetto in New York where last year she converted to Islam. How is it possible for someone who ran from Boko Haram to come to US and become a Muslim? The Buhari govt and the Murtala Mohammed Foundation should explain why Nigeria’s $1million was spent on them and instead of graduating she is converting.
The Islamization agenda is very real. This is one example in faraway US not to mention what is happening with govt takeover of Arabic school and federalization of it making two Federal Arabic parastatals amongst other issues.
- Neither the credibility-challenged Nigerian govt nor the US media have the moral authority to scandalize my name. As China Achebe wisely noted, “until the lion learns to tell his story, the tale that will be told is that of the glorious hunter.” International exchange programs come with challenges and risks and requirements. The US embassy sponsored brilliant Nigerian professionals to US for the Obama White House Mandela Fellowship. During a short 6-week YALI program, John Paul Usman an amazing young man from Kogi state died in a hiking accident. His family sent him to America hearty and he returned in a coffin in just 6-weeks. The Nigerian media and people did not scandalize and demean the US for the death of this young man even though from my investigation there were many unanswered questions remaining. People were trying to avoid liability. Some of the fellows who came on that YALI program had their allowance stolen. I had to assist one as the US refused to make up for the stolen funds. Even recently secondary school level students came to US on another embassy related program. It was extended by about 10 Days and no proper arrangement was made for them. Again I had to assist. Did we go about scandalizing the US for neglecting these Nigerians who were guests in their country?
I am thankful to God that by his grace I was able to sponsor 12 girls US and after several years, none of them has died, none is pregnant, none is on drugs. The only ones chronically failing are those with Nigerian govt! For avoidance of doubt, the non-Chibok girls who personally lived in my house are today academically far ahead of all the Chibok girls in the world! One graduated with her associate degree last year. She’s an orphan of a pastor killed in Maiduguri. While her Chibok colleagues were doing whatever they were doing, she sat up and did well to the glory of God. Let’s judge by results not propaganda.
The FG is mass producing failure where by God’s Grace I produced success. They’re not my peers when it comes to performance. I am not a serial failure like Buhari. When the Chibok girls were in Nigeria, he was a private citizen like me and could have sponsored them before I came. He didn’t. Rather he used the Chibok girls for political campaign and now again he is using them as his only achievement. Now even the ones he took from me are seriously lagging. This is true evidence of a confirmed congenital failure.
- Remember that this is a govt that tried to force Amina Ali who courageously escaped from Boko Haram on her own to be a Muslim while she was in protective custody here in Abuja. http://www.informationng.com/2016/08/my-daughter-being-pressured-to-follow-islam-says-mother-of-rescued-chibok-schoolgirl.html. This is a govt that under Buhari’s care, one of the released Chibok girls attempted suicide here in Abuja. Apparently life under Buhari administration was worse than 2 years captivity with Boko Haram in Sambisa! http://saharareporters.com/2017/09/07/exclusive-freed-chibok-schoolgirl-%E2%80%8Eattempts-suicide-protest-going-atiku-owned-school
6. The sad thing for me is that most of the girls are in touch with me and some have apologized and regretted their mistake and denied they said such things. By publishing this story which was actually an old dossier from the National Intelligence Agency co-drafted by an American conman with whom they collaborated before they double crossed each other, they have only damaged the reconciliation with the girls.
There were two reasons I kept quiet when the girls started lying two years ago. Firstly, I was saw that the govt would have to take care of them. We had asked the govt to assist them, they refused. VP Osinbajo asked us to go and raise funds ourselves. Later Aisha Alhassan said they were taking over stranded girls and Murtala Mohammed Foundation begged TY Danjuma for money for the Chibok girls. They even went to source money from an infidel rather than use their own money. I kept quiet because I was happy that the govt had come alive to its responsibility. As infidel Christians, they would never have seen such an opportunity from the govt. In fact the government planned to take them back to Nigeria but that plan failed.
Secondly, because the girls were my daughters, I couldn’t use my intellect to combat them in the eyes of the public. I endured it. But now that it’s become like this even after several years, I have to speak out.
7. I told the Wall Street Journal what the girls did is sad for several reasons – it embarrasses all the highly placed people who tried to help them. A congress person invites you for the memorial of your abduction and people convince you that you should say you were forced to go while in your country your Rep has never a day bothered to see you?
Secondly it makes it difficult for me to help others knowing that they can betray you at the slightest opportunity. Now they have tasted that lying pays and it will distort their value system. Some have come to their senses but the one still saying nonsense has been of bad behavior from day one but I wasn’t told by the locals who brought her to me. She called her paternal Uncle “dumb” in a message to me. Why won’t she curse me who has done more for her than her uncle? In fact the uncle begs the girls for money even. This insolent ingrate wrote to me that she didn’t like the phone I gave her that she prefers another one, twice!
My last words to those girls when I visited them in school in 2016 were “those of you who came to America to get phones will get great phones but won’t help anyone. Those who came to America to get an education, will be educated, will afford phones of their choice and will be a blessing to many others. Today she has a phone and no reasonable certificate just like Buhari. In fact I understand she even dropped out of the adult education program the others were in last year. How can I be dragging with an Non-Academic student? I was already a lawyer before she was born. You simply cannot help people who won’t help themselves.
I wish she would use her time to study instead of giving fake interviews to Americans seeking relevance. The final prayer I recall praying for them is “Let others do to my children what I have done for you and may others do to your children what you have done to me.”
If I wasn’t confident in heart and conscience about the good I have done them I won’t pray such a prayer.
Nigerians with greater skills and resources than them are stranded in Libya being sold as slaves just trying to get to Europe. I got them passports, visas, schools and flew them to America all on a platter of gold. My dad the honorable justice told me a proverb “that a child who is carried on the back never knows the journey is long.” Some have no appreciation of what I did for them. If it was southern kids I did it for, they’d have gone much farther by now but this shows why the north remains backward. The Bible is clear that evil will not depart from those who repay good with wickedness (Prov 17:13)
To my knowledge not only is she not in school but they are even unable to come to Nigeria to visit. I gather some are filing for political asylum claiming Nigeria is too dangerous for them to return so it’s now they are stranded. Ironically that’s an indictment on the government claiming victory over Boko Haram. This govt has no fresh lies. All their lies have expired and they are recycling and remixing old wine in new skin. As my lawsuit continues, we will expose them more. They must leave office. Insulting me won’t change their departure date in 12 months.
When Trump called us “Shithole countries” some of us tried to defend but when you look at this government, you can see exactly what he is talking about.
The final reason why this is unfortunate is it’s a distraction from their missing schoolmates and a sad reflection on them.
This is why Leah Sharibu is a heroine of the faith. If she can stand in Sambisa Forest for her faith against armed terrorists when a girl 6 years older than her is betraying her faith and those who helped in the midst of plenty in America, you can see that western education is not evil but western influences and values have certainly corrupted these ones. The US media were simply seeking attention after the US failed to help recover the missing girls. Those scrambling for fame now should have gone to Nigeria like I did to help them instead of jumping on the bandwagon after I blazed the trail. There are still over 20 Chibok girls without universities who did NECO exams last year.