In a letter sent to the EFCC in response to an invitation to appear before the anti-corruption commission, ThisDay Newspaper publisher Nduka Obaigbena disclosed that (in addition to the N550million compensation received for the Boko Haram bombing of his newspaper’s Abuja office), 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.”
Since the release of this statement, several newspapers have denied receiving any compensation.
Today, the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) outlined reasons it had not paid newspapers the security compensation over the disruption of circulation of newspapers by the military this year.
In a statement released today by Feyi Smith, Executive Secretary of NPAN, the body responded to press releases by various newspapers denying the receipt of any compensation.
Our attention has been drawn to statements issued last night by the Nigerian Tribune, Peoples’ Daily and New Telegraph Newspapers claiming that they did not receive the compensation for the military disruption of circulation of newspapers by the Federal Government.
It should be recalled that the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) Executive Council meeting of March 17, 2015 held at the offices of Daily Trust, Abuja, resolved to accept the N120 million compensation and passed two other resolutions thereto:
(1) that each member-organisation accepts to donate N1 million from the compensation to the Association for the upkeep of the Secretariat;
(2) that members should bring their membership account current, by paying all past dues to the Secretariat before collecting their cheques.
The cheques for the Nigerian Tribune and Peoples’ Daily remain in the Secretariat awaiting collection.
In the case of New Telegraph, the Secretariat was confronted with a situation where 13 Newspapers made claims while compensation for 12 newspapers was made. Blueprint Newspapers which was inadvertently omitted from the list has since been been paid.
When New Telegraph now demanded payment that had been collected by Blueprint Newspapers, the secretariat then brought the matter to the attention of the President, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, who then called Governor Orji Kalu, the Publisher of both the Sun Newspapers (who had been paid) and the New Telegraph (which has not been paid), to urge him to be patient for the matter to be tabled at the next Executive Council meeting, where he would seek the approval of the EXCO to take the funds earmarked for the Secretariat to pay them.