Saturday, 12 December 2015

Daily Telegraph and Nigeria Tribune deny collecting Millions from Obaigbena

It's denial time in Nigeria,they are all denying each other with the current arms deal scandal.
The African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, publishers of the Tribune titles, has denied receiving N10 million through the publisher of Thisday newspapers, Nduka Obaigbena, as compensation for attacks on its operations and personnel by soldiers in June 2014.

Nduka Obaigbena in a letter he sent to EFCC on December 9th, had alleged that the media

house was one of the companies he in his capacity as the Chairman of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), gave N10 million as compensation received from the former administration after the military confiscated their dailies in June last year.

A statement signed by Tribune's Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Mr Edward Dickson, reads

“Our attention has been drawn to claims by the Publisher of Thisday newspapers, who is also the President of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, that a sum of N10 million was paid to our company through NPAN by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) as compensation for the disruption of our circulation operations, seizure of our newspapers and damage to our property by soldiers in June 2014. “Although, like other NPAN members, we filed claims as requested for by NPAN, the fact of the matter is that up till this moment, 11th December, 2015, our company is yet to receive a kobo as compensation through NPAN for the 2014 disruptive activities of the military to our operations.”

Also,the managements of Peoples Media Limited, publishers of Peoples Daily; Daily Telegraph Publishing Company Limited, publishers of New Telegraph, Saturday Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, and Independent Newspapers Limited, publishers of Daily Independent newspapers, have all come out to publicly deny Nduka Obaigbena's claims that he gave them N10 million each from embattled former National Security Adviser NSA Sambo Dasuki as compensation for the military confiscation of their dailies in June last year.
TThe Chief Operating Officer of the Peoples Daily newspaper, Ali Ali, in a statement released yesterday refuted claims of receiving any money for compensation from the last government.“One of the revelations on the current inquisition of the tenure of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) is that this newspaper, among several other national dailies, received the sum of N10million from the office of the former NSA through Nduka Obaigbena, the President of Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN.

 This is news to us. At no time was such money made available to us in whatever guise. We wish to state clearly that it is false and therefore, wish to completely distance this medium from this revelation. We don’t know of others, therefore, we can’t speak for them,”. 
Also the Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief of New Telegraph, Funke Egbemode, in a statement denied claims of receiving any money from Obaigbena. The statement reads
“Our attention has been drawn to the inclusion of New Telegraph Newspapers on the list of media houses that THISDAY Publisher and President, Newspapers Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) claimed he paid N10 million each to, from funds he received from the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), Col  Sambo Dasuki (retd), as compensation for the illegal seizure of some newspapers by the military during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“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. 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.”

Chief Executive Officer of Independent Newspapers Limited, publishers of Daily Independent newspapers, Ted Iwere has also denied the claims of receiving any N10 million as compensation from Obaigbena 
This is the alleged letter Obaigbena sent to the EFCC and story below...
Chairman of Thisday newspaper, Nduka Obaigbena, has written a letter to EFCC officials, stating that he collected N550 million from the former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki as compensation for the Boko Haram suicide attacks on his Abuja office. Obaigbena has been indicted in the ongoing $2.1 billion arms deal scandal. In the letter he signed and dated December 9th, Oaigbena acknowledged he received N120m from Dasuki which he distributed to some newspaper house as compensation for the confiscation of their newspapers by the Army in Junelast year. Read the letter he sent to EFCC after the cut

The Executive Chairman, The Economic & Financial Crimes C omission, 5, Fomella Street, Wuse 11, Abuja, Nigeria. Attention: OLAOLU ADEGBITE, MFR. RE: LETTER OF INVITATION. Please refer to your letter of invitation dated 8th November 2015, which was received in our Abuja Office on the 8th of December 2015. I am currently in the United States of America on my way back to Nigeria to honour your invitation, but I feel it necessary to make the following statements prior to my arrival in Nigeria: 

1. We have never received any suspicious funds from the Office of the National Security Adviser. ALL funds received from the Office of the National Security Adviser were PAYMENTS for COMPENSATION to MITIGATE the following: 

1.1. N150,000,000 + N150,000,000 and N250,000,000 respectively received in August, November and February 2014 as compensation to mitigate the dastardly Boko Haram twin bombings of the THISDAY NEWSPAPERS offices in Abuja and Kaduna on Thursday April 26, 2012, during which 4 innocent Nigerian lives were lost, our buildings destroyed and we lost full colour Goss printing towers and three (3) pre-press Computer-To-Plate and anxiliary equipments and other (in)valuable property valued at over N2.5 BILLION. This is aside from daily costs to pay 3rd party printers of over N1 Billion having lost our printing facility to terrorist due to inadequate protection by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The bombing of THISDAY offices followed the Abuja United Nations Building bombing for which the Federal Government has so far spent N3 Billion for reconstruction and much more earmarked for furnishing; 

1.2. N100,000,000 and N20,000,000 received in March 2015 for The Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and 12 newspapers who demanded compensation for the brutal and unlawful seizure of newspapers and stoppage of circulation by armed soldiers in Abuja and several cities. As President of the NPAN, it was my duty to lead media leaders to hold discussions with President Goodluck Jonathan to avert a class action lawsuit against the Armed Forces and the Federal Government of Nigeria. 2. On both occasions, President Jonathan said he did not wish to lay precedence and in our case, he specifically said there were many victims of Boko Haram. I had to confront President Jonathan on the issue when I learnt of approvals for the reconstruction of the Abuja United Nations Building, since we were the second major organisation to be attacked by Boko Haram after the UN attack. He therefore directed me to meet the National Security Adviser who processed the 3 payments in question. 

Please find attached a copy of our letter to President Jonathan as well as correspondence with the then NSA on the Newspapers’ payment. I will be making my way to Nigeria to meet with you should you require further information. Thank you. 

Nduka Obaigbena 
Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, THISDAY NEWSPAPERS GROUP.

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