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Obaigbena to EFCC: How I got N670m from Dasuki

By The Rainbow
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Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, THISDAY newspapers Group, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, has written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to explain the reasons and facts behind his collection of N670m from the Office of former National Security Adviser, Mr Sambo Dasuki.

Obaigbena said the payments to him from Dasuki’s office was part of Federal Government’s compensation to his newspaper company for the damages incurred during the terrorist attack on the office 2012 and payments to Nigeria Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, which he collected as the president of the body.

This Day’s chairman’s reaction to the invitation by the EFCC is contained in a letter to theanti-graft chairman, dated December 9, this year.

It is entitled, 'Re: Letter of Invitation,' and copy of which was made available to media., Obaigbena, who is currently in the United States (US) and on his way back to Nigeria to honour the commission's invitation, said it was necessary to correct the impression held in the public domain prior to his arrival.

According to Obaigbena,  that THISDAY Media group never received any suspicious funds from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) but  that all funds (N150, 000, 000 + N150, 000, 000 and N250, 000, 000 respectively) received in August, November and February last from the Office of the NSA were payments for compensation to mitigate the dastardly Boko Haram twin bombings of the newspaper's offices in Abuja and Kaduna on Thursday April 26, 2012, during which four innocent lives were lost, buildings destroyed and it lost its colour Goss printing towers and three pre-press computer-to-plate and anxiliary equipments and other property valued at over N2.5 billion.

He wrote, “This is aside from daily costs to pay third party printers of over N1billion, 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 (UN) building bombing, for which the Federal Government has so far spent N3billion for reconstruction and much more earmarked for furnishing,” the letter read.

He continued: “N100, 000, 000 and N20, 000, 000 received in March this year was 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.”

According to Obaigbena, Jonathan never wanting to lay precedence, specifically saying there were many victims of Boko Haram, but he had to confront him on the issue when he learnt of approvals for the reconstruction of the Abuja UN building, since THISDAY was the second major organisation to be attacked by insurgents after the UN.

“He, therefore, directed me to meet the NSA, who processed the three payments in question,” Obaigbena stated.

In a letter to the former President date July 26, 2012, entitled, 'Twin Bombings of THISDAY Newspapers: The Need For Compensation,' a copy also made available to The Guardian, Obaigbena had on behalf of the board, management and staff of THISDAY newspapers, wrote to thank Jonathan for visiting the premises housing the media house on Saturday, April 28, 2012.

He noted in the letter that had the bombing happened a few hours earlier or even a few hours later, during the peak of production, about 150 Abuja staff, including journalists, printers and others could have been affected.

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