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Ordeal of ‘Boko Haram girls’ and Wall Street Journal’s hatchet job, By Emmanuel Ogebe

By News Express on 03/05/2018

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•Emmanuel Ogebe
•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 four 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 into 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 programme are now in colleges across the US, while those taken away by the government have a 60 per cent GED failure rate, after a costly $1 million and two 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, apologised 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 cannon 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 Muhammadu 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 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) make light of my advocacy on the genocide against Christians in Nigeria was deeply troubling, and honouring 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, 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 is 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 the 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 three 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 blood-sport 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 demonise 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 ‘80s, 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.

Source News Express

Posted 03/05/2018 1:27:12 PM


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