April 12, 2021

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Feminist Coalition’s $51,000 bitcoin account withdrawal stirs controversy

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There was controversy on social media on Friday following an allegation by a Twitter user who accused the Feminist Coalition (FemCo) of withdrawal of $51,000 worth of bitcoin from the #EndSARS donation account.

The coalition is one of the major groups that provided financial support for Nigerian youth during last year’s protests against brutality and extrajudicial killings of citizens by the now-disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS).

During the protest in October 2020, donations were made to the coalition by their supporters through bitcoin, after government authorities reportedly blocked its account.

After the protest, the coalition stopped receiving donations, saying it would give the breakdown of how the remaining funds of about N87 million would be disbursed.

Fraud allegations

On Friday, a Twitter user with the handle @Rx_Deyholar, alleged that the Coalition moved $51,000 worth of bitcoin to a newly generated account.

“Feminist co withdrew $51,000 worth of Bitcoin from their donation wallet on the 5th of this month silently”, he wrote on Twitter.

The allegations later generated furore, with many Twitter users calling on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the alleged withdrawal.

“I will personally join in signing a Petition to EFCC if the feminist co doesn’t come forward and account for every Kobo in that Bitcoin wallet and give a satisfactory reason as to why they cleared the wallet and persons involved. This is not an allegation, but a call to account,” @von_Bismack wrote.

But the Coalition, responding to the allegations via a press a release, showed the amount they received and spent.

They claimed that the funds alleged to have been secretly withdrawn was part of a sale for N57,590,000 with a third party between November 16 and December 1, 2020.

The delay of the transaction was said to be a result of clog in the bitcoin network.

“Our public statement of October 22nd outlined the allocation of the remaining funds.

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The balance of funds were to be spent as outlined below:

1. #EndSARSresponse (Medical) – N20,114,087.25

2. The Legal Aid Network – N15,741,459.59

3. Relief for victims of police brutality and families of the deceased – N40,228,174.51

4. Memorial for the Fallen – N5,247,153.197

5. #EndSARSMental Health Support – N6,121,678.73

“Since October, we have continued our voluntary work with a great sense of duty and the diligence that managing public trust deserves. This work involved ensuring proper procedures were in place to manage donations and identify and verify numerous claims of the several victims of police brutality.

“This aligns with the values of transparency and accountability we have upheld in our public communications since our intervention. Listed below are Feminist Coalition’s fund allocation activities in line with our statement. Please note that all funds crowdsourced by the Feminist Coalition are separate from funds externally raised by other groups, including our beneficiaries, such as EndSARSResponse.

“#EndSARSresponse (Medical) & #EndSARSMentalHealth Support Between October and November 2020, we donated N20,114,087.25 to #EndSARSresponse (Medical) and N6,121,678.73 to #EndSARSMental Health Support. Relief for Victims of Police Brutality From November 2020 to February 2021, the Feminist Coalition donated N40,000,000 to 80 families (N500,000 each) across Nigeria who have lost loved ones to police brutality or have been victims themselves. Within the fund for police brutality victims, we provided one fatally impacted family with additional funds for housing (rent), clothing, food, furniture, transportation and school books totalling 5,682,000. In total, victims of police brutality and/ or their families received N45,682,000.

“Several beneficiaries publicised their receipt of these funds on their volition, but the Feminist Coalition is committed to the victims’ privacy and would not dishonour their memory.

Other details of the funds spent by Feminist Coalition is provided on their official Twitter handle.

It can be read here.

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