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Obaigbena Didn’t Give us Dasuki’s  Slush Fund –Some Nigeria Newspapers Cry Out

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Thisday newspaper, Nduka Obaigbena is in trouble following a disclosure that he received additional N120 million payment in March 2015 on behalf of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and 12 newspapers who asked to be compensated for “unlawful seizure and stoppage of circulation by armed soldiers in Abuja and several cities,” during the last democratic dispensation.

Mr Obaigbena, according to reports disclosed to the men of the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) during the ongoing probe into the usage of $2.1 billion arms procurement fund by the office of the NSA under Sambo Dasuki, that he received a N120 million payment on behalf of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), but four of the association members have dissociated themselves from Mr. Obaigbena’s claim.

Following the mind boggling revelation, the management of The Sun, Nigerian Tribune, People’s Daily, and New Telegraph have all come out, to deny receiving any money from Mr. Obaigbena

In his statement to the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC), Mr. Nduka, said the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki, paid him N670 million as compensation for attacks on his newspaper’s offices in Abuja and Kaduna in 2012. He also disclosed that he received compensation for the illegal seizure of newspapers by men of the armed forces.

His words:  “N100,000,000 +N100,000,000 and N250,000,000 respectively received in August, November and February 2014 as compensation to mitigate the dastardly Boko Haram twin bombing of the Thisday newspapers offices in Abuja and Kaduna on Thursday April 26, 2012.”

He also disclosed that he received additional N120 million in March 2015 on behalf of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and 12 newspapers who asked to be compensated for the unlawful seizure and stoppage of circulation by armed soldiers in Abuja and several cities.

Problem however started when Mr. Obaigbena made a disclosure  that he received additional N120 million in March 2015 on behalf of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and 12 newspapers. The newspapers are: Thisday, Tribune, Daily Independent, New Telegraph, The Sun, Businessday, Guardian, Daily Trust, People’s Daily, Leadership, The Nation and Vanguard.

According to reports, Mr. Obaigbena explained that as the Chairman of NPAN, he collected the funds to forestall a planned class action the newspapers were going to institute against the government.

But in a swift reaction, the management of The Sun, Nigerian Tribune, People’s Daily, New Telegraph that Obaigbena claimed he gave money to, have all come out strongly to deny ever receiving any money from him.

The Telegraph, in a press statement  expressed shock over its inclusion on the list of media houses Mr. Obaigbena claimed he paid N10 million each to from the largesse from Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

MD of New Telegraph, Mrs Funke Egbemode said, “It is on record that following the decision of NPAN to seek compensation from the Fed­eral Government in the after­math of the seizure of editions of newspapers by the military, New Telegraph computed its losses, which were passed to the association. However, since then, the company has heard nothing from the asso­ciation on the matter.”

She explained that, “Following a report that NPAN has begun paying N9 million (not N10 million as contained in the report that has gone viral on the inter­net), the management of Daily Telegraph Publishing Company Limited, publish­ers of New Telegraph, Sat­urday Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, has written three letters to NPAN for its share of the compensation; but re­grettably, as at this moment, not even a kobo has been re­ceived.

“The first letter was written on May 22, 2015 followed by another on July 16, 2015 with a reminder written on November 19, 2015.

“Therefore, it is noth­ing but sheer falsehood for the NPAN president, who claimed he received the money on behalf of the as­sociation, to have included New Telegraph Newspapers as one of the beneficiaries of the funds, which as it has now emerged, was disbursed by the former NSA.”

Two other national newspapers; the Ni­gerian Tribune and People’s Daily have denied collecting any kobo from Sambo Dasuki through Mr Obaigbena.

The newspapers in a separate press statements said they were shocked to find their names listed as some of the media houses that were paid for losses incurred as a result of the action by the military to seize copies of some newspa­pers and block their circula­tion nationwide.

“This is a criminal act perpetrated  by Mr. Obaigbena,”  lamented Mr. Ralph Atansuyi, President of Chicago based Nigeria Politics Discussion Forum.

“The management of those newspapers should sue Mr. Obaigbena for defamation, I am sure they will win a lot of money,” he said.

Mr Obaigbena joins another media mogul, founder of DAAR Communications, owners of Africa Independent Television and Raypower radio network, Raymond Dokpesi to make the list of media owners implicated in the ongoing probe of $2billion arms fraud allegedly coordinated by the former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki.

 

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