By The Punch
Wives of slain Police officers who died during an armed robbery attack at a branch of Zenith Bank in Wetheral Road, Owerri, Imo State, have received the donations from GoFundMe campaign launched by The PUNCH Newspapers and other social media activists.
Mrs. Rose Iboko, widow of the heroic police officer, Chukwudi Iboko, received a cheque of N4,690,144.64; while Mrs. Blessing Agbo, widow of the second victim, Sergeant Sunday Agbo, got investment and cash totalling N2,258,217.79.
Mrs. Iboko, who was accompanied by her son, Favour, received a cheque from the representatives of two non-governmental organisations, appointed by PUNCH Nigeria Limited to oversee the disbursement of the funds at the Imo State Police Command in Owerri.
The two NGOs are Development Support Initiative, represented by its Executive Director, Mrs. Jacqueline Odiadi; and the Rock of Ages Empowerment Foundation, represented by its Project Manager, Mr. Hyginus Eze.
Eze explained that Mrs. Iboko got N4,690,144.64 out of the N6,948,362.43 of the fund, while Mrs Agbo got N2,258,217.79.
The total donation, $19,354.77 was exchanged at the rate of N359 to $1.
In her address, Odiadi explained that the Iboko family got a bigger share because the money was basically donated to take care of the family of the slain cop.
The Second family was only discovered during investigation carried out by the NGOs, Odiadi revealed.
“It was a tough and good experience for us as NGOs because we have not done this kind of thing before. It was done on pro bono basis because there was no profit made by any of the NGOs,” she added, while narrating her experience managing the fund.
Mrs. Iboko, in her response, thanked all Nigerians, especially PUNCH Newspapers, for the concerted efforts to help her at such a trying moment.
She said the kindness had changed her life and those of her children for good.
On what she would use the money for, the 32-year-old mother of seven surviving children said she would use part of the money to complete the family’s building project, while the remaining amount of money would be used to establish a business.
Earlier in his speech, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Tunji Abimbola, who represented the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, commended PUNCH Nigeria Limited and the donors for being compassionate towards the Iboko family.
The police boss said, “That was very thoughtful. PUNCH has always been outstanding, especially when it comes to crime reporting.
“Police is an endangered species in Nigeria. The statutory amount for this kind of thing is very meagre. This is the first time I am seeing this kind of gesture towards the Police.”
Mrs. Blessing, the widow of the late Sergeant Sunday Agbo, received her share of the donations in form of a store and a cheque, totalling N2,258,217.79 after undergoing training facilitated by one of the NGOs.
Programme Executive, Development Support Initiative, Mr. Chinedu Okoronkwo, during the handover of the store to Mrs. Agbo at Nnewi, Anambra State, said she was empowered with a business to ward off in-laws who had earlier collected the money given to her by the Police and Zenith Bank.
Mrs Blessing Agbo, her son and Programme Executive, Development Support Initiative, Mr. Chinedu Okoronkwo during the presentation.
Okonkwo said, “Police gave the widows N500,000 each and the bank also gave them money. The sum total of the money given to them was N2m each.
“It was so unfortunate that her (Mrs. Agbo’s) brothers-in-law collected the N2m from her and gave her only N200,000.
“That is why we said no, that we cannot give her money any longer. Rather, we will empower her and watch her grow the business because she has children to care for.
“The reason we are handing over these things to the boy (son) is because of the so-called tradition that if she touches whatever that comes out of this, she will die.
“So, I have to hand over the shop to them through the son because the little encounter I had with the family, they actually came to take away what belonged to these people.
“So, we decided to do this in the name of their son, and nobody will take it and if their tradition kills, let me see how the tradition will kill their son.”
A total donation of $21,249 was received through GoFundMe to support the family after the video of the robbery attack went viral.
The processes for the clearance of the donations took over two weeks, as extant US and Nigerian financial regulations had to be complied with before the funds were released by GoFundMe.
The processes were managed and overseen by GoFundMe, three representatives of PUNCH comprising Ms. Adeola Fayehun of KIRWA Foundation; Mr. Kayode Ogundamisi and Mr. Omoyele Sowore of Sahara Reporters.
After the deductions of relevant fees and charges, $19,394.77 was cleared for transfer to the beneficiaries.
According to the information on the GoFundMe website, the payment processing fee is 2.9 percent, and another $0.30 per donation.
GoFundMe also charges five percent platform fee, which comes to a total of 7.9 percent, plus $0.30 per donation.
At the expiration of the fundraiser, GoFundMe paid $19,394.77 into the receiving account of KIRWA Foundation, an America-based charity organisation that collaborated with PUNCH Nigeria Limited on the fundraising.
The processing bank charged $40 for wire transfer, leaving a balance of $19,354.77 for onward transfer to Nigeria. The $19,354.77 was wired on Monday, June 26, 2017 from the United States.
The money was wired to the bank account of one of the two trustees that had been nominated to manage the fund — the Rock of Ages Empowerment Foundation, headed by Mr. Ignatius Ezeigbo.
The second trustee chosen to manage the disbursement of the fund is the Development Support Initiative, whose director is Mrs. Jacqueline Odiadi.
The two NGOs agreed to manage the funds for free and without making any deductions therefrom.