Over row with family Kate Henshaw returns donors’ N8m raised for sick boy

A disagreement over the sum of N8 million raised by Kate Henshaw and her friends towards the cause of Michael Alvez, a two-year-old boy born with an ulcerous growth in the face has forced the actress to return the money to donors.

The actress has asked other willing donors to stop paying into the account opened for the victim after disclosing that the boy’s family requested that she stopped rendering help to them following a disagreement over funds raised for his treatment.

According to reports, Kate took interest in the case when her attention was drawn to Michael’s cause in March 2016 when she was tagged on Twitter with a picture showing the boys mother using him to beg for alms in the Onikan area of Lagos State.

After locating the boy and his mother, the baby was admitted to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba and thereafter, Kate also involved a non-governmental organisation, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, before the Lagos State Government was also notified later on.

An account was also opened for Michael and well-meaning Nigerians have been contributing towards his cause with some of the funds raised used to pay for Michael’s medical bill while he was admitted at LUTH.

However, Michael’s family members started raising eyebrows over the funds raised and on the 3rd of March, E.G. Adelemoni, a lawyer representing the baby’s family wrote to the management of Project Alert, asking for an audited statement of account opened in Michael’s name.

The lawyer representing the baby’s family also threatened legal action if the demand was not met in seven days saying the request was to ensure that the funds raised was used for what it was intended for.

Reacting to Adelemoni’s demand, Benjamin Odeh, Project Alert’s legal officer, stated that fund managers were only accountable to Kate, Aramide Kasunmu and members of the public who were the donors to the account.

In her comments on the matter, Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukuwma, the Chief Executive Officer of Project Alert said, “The last one year of our intervention to help the baby has been very emotional and frustrating. The major frustration has been from Baby Michael’s family, who have been uncooperative, greedy and antagonising.

“In November 2016, Sidi briefed a lawyer to write us requesting information on the account and money raised. We had a meeting with the lawyer and at the end, he realised his client had wrongly briefed him.

“In February 2017, at a meeting called by the social welfare department at the state secretariat, Alausa, she refused to allow the government take custody of the child. She also said she did not want any further medical assistance. She requested that the child be discharged from the hospital to her and the grandma. Michael was subsequently released.

“However, a week later, she got yet another lawyer, Adelemoni, to write us about the funds. The question is: Why is the family more interested in the money than the health of the boy? Why would Sidi, on behalf of the family, tell the government and the rescuers to back off, and then turn around to inquire about the money through her lawyers?

“The rescuers have with heavy hearts – considering that a sick child is involved – decided to refund the balance of the money raised to all those who were kind enough to donate to the fund since the family has rejected our assistance.

Kate on her part said she regretted getting involved in the cause as she has been receiving death threats.

“The baby is now in the care of the family and the government,” Kate said.


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