More newspapers deny receiving NSA money from Obaigbena

Nduka Obaigbena, Chairman of Leaders & Company Limited, which runs THISDAY Newspaper titles and Arise TV Network

The publishers of two newspapers, Tribune and New Telegraph, have respectively denied receiving any money from the publisher of ThisDay newspapers, Nduka Obaigbena, as compensation for the disruption of their operations and attack on their personnel by soldiers in June 2014.

Mr. Obaigbena had told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission investigating disbursement of funds from the office of the National Security Adviser that payments made to him were for 12 newspapers, and for his company’s losses during a Boko Haram attack in 2012.

He said Sambo Dasuki, the former NSA, paid him N670 million as compensation for the Boko Haram bomb attack on ThisDay office, and an additional N120 million on behalf 12 newspapers under the aegis of Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, as compensation for the attacks on newspapers.

Peoples Daily, one the papers listed, had earlier denied receiving the money.

In separate statements Friday, Tribune and New Telegraph also said they did not receive any amount as compensation from the Federal Government through Mr. Obaigbena, who is the NPAN President.

Both media houses admitted filing claims, but said no payments were made to them.

“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,” a statement signed by the managing director/Editor-in-Chief of Tribune titles, Edward Dickson, said.

Similarly, the management of New Telegraph, in a statement signed by the Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief, 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.

“Following a report that NPAN had 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 statement added that, “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.”

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