“Nduka Obaigbena returns to Nigeria, lies low”

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

The publisher of Thisday newspapers, Nduka Obaigbena, who is being investigated for receiving N670 million from a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has returned to the country, a source who saw and spent time with him told PREMIUM TIMES.

On Wednesday, this newspaper reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had concluded plans to declare Mr. Obaigbena, and some former government officials as well as military officers, wanted, in relation to ongoing fraud investigations.

Mr. Nduka has denied he was involved in any criminal transaction. He explained that the money he received was compensation for Boko Haram attacks on his newspaper offices in Abuja and Kaduna, while another N120 million was on behalf of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria and 12 newspapers, compensated for a clampdown by the military.

He explained that in line with international law his newspapers were covered against terrorist attack as the Nigerian government did not declare a state of war in Abuja.

“Nduka has been around for two weeks but he didn’t want to call attention to himself,” our source who asked not to be named, said.

He explained that Mr. Obaigbena presided over a meeting of the Nigerian Press Organisation where media practitioners decided to challenge the Court of Appeal judgment on the Nigerian Press Council Act, which gives government the power to regulate the media at the Supreme Court.

“Two days ago, he was at the Office of the National Security Adviser in response to the invitation by the panel investigating the arms deal.

“In fact, the Thisday Group, led by Kayode Komolafe, a director, had appeared before the EFCC. They were asked for their chairman, they said he was not around and that if they want him they will let him know.

“They’ve answered all the questions and that they are now surprised that the EFCC is trying to criminalize him,” the source said.

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