A financial consultant, Henry Claudius, and some other Twitter users have accused a former presidential aide, Reno Omokri, of diverting funds meant for the family of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu.
Using the Twitter hashtag #RenoUndarted, some Nigerians on Twitter accused Omokri of printing T-shirts branded with Sharibu’s name, writing books and selling them and diverting the proceeds for personal gains.
They also accused him of collecting funds from some local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international charity organisations in Sharibu’s name and keeping the funds for himself.
Tweeting, Claudius wrote, “Omokiri’s claim that he wrote a best seller is false. The book is worthless on Amazon. However, the book he wrote on Sharibu is selling for $16.This is how the scam works. He will visit churches worldwide, introduced himself as pastor and complain of Christian persecution in Nigeria.
“Unsuspecting congregation believed his words that Christians were being persecuted. He will talk about Sharibu that she’s currently being held and President Muhammadu Buhari is not doing anything about it. They started buying the books to learn more, people started donating to his charity.
“Then he will introduce his other books. The bottom line is that Leah is used as a marketing strategy to deceive unsuspecting Christians worldwide that they are donating money to free persecuted Christians in Nigeria.”
However, Omokri, who was special assistant to President Jonathan on New Media, said the allegations were baseless and designed to tarnish his image.
He said, “If I used Leah‘s name to get any grant from anywhere, let God judge me. But if you have falsely accused me, then let God publicly avenge me in Jesus’ name, amen. By the way, since you have evidence of this grant, please expose it.
“All payments for my #FreeLeahSharibu T-Shirts are first verified by the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Kaduna, Rev Hayab, then paid into her father’s account. Not even a penny has been paid to me. But, if you have EVIDENCE otherwise, EXPOSE IT.
“I made exactly ₦1 million from my book, ‘Leah Sharibu: The Girl Boko Haram Left Behind.’ The money spent only five minutes in my account. At the fifth minute, it was transferred to Leah’s mother’s. The transaction was verified by Kaduna state CAN Chairman, Rev. J. Hayab.
“I am waiting for anyone, anywhere who has paid me money over #FreeLeahSharibu to EXPOSE me. All monies from the sale of the #FreeLeahSharibu T-Shirts were paid directly to Leah’s father. They want me to abandon Leah, but God willing, that will never happen!”