Tribune, New Telegraph, Peoples Daily deny receiving money from Obaigbena

Management of some Nigerian media organisations named by ThisDay Publisher, Nduka Obaigbena, as beneficiaries of N120million which he claimed to have collected from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) have denied receiving any payment from him.

Obaigbena, who said he acted in his capacity as  chairman of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) said he collected the money on behalf of 12 newspapers as compensation for military clampdown on their operation in June 2014.

The payment, he pointed out, was to prevent a class action against the government

Publishers of Tribune, New Telegraph and Peoples Daily have however denied receiving any money from him.

The African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, publishers of the Tribune titles, in statement signed by its Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief, Mr Edward Dickson, said, “Our attention has been drawn to claims by the Publisher of Thisday newspapers who is also 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 from NPAN for the 2014 disruptive activities of the military to our operations.”

Similar rebuttal came from New Telegraph.

Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief Funke Egbemode wrote: “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 (rtd), 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.

The management of Peoples Media Limited, the publishers of Peoples Daily, also denied receiving any payment from Obaigbena

A statement its Chief Operating Officer, Ali Ali, said the newspaper never received such money under whatever guise.

“One of the revelation 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 new to us. At no time such money was 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,” said the newspaper.

Founder of Daar Communication, Raymond Dokpesi, is facing a six-count charge of fraud and money laundering in a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for receiving money from Dasuki.