Chairman and Publisher of Thisday Newspapers, Chief Nduka Obaigbena, has responded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which invited him to account for the N670,000,000 (Six-hundred and seventy million naira) traced to him as part of the $2.1 billion arms budget for which the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, is standing trial.
In response to a letter of invitation from the EFCC, Obaigbena made
it clear that the amount he received from the Office of National
Security Adviser, ONSA was duly approved for him by former President
Goodluck Jonathan to compensate him for the dastardly bombing of his
offices in Abuja and Kaduna by Boko Haram insurgents.
The publisher said the approval by Jonathan for the payment of the
sum of N550 million to him was in response to the letters of appeal he
personally wrote to him pleading for assistance following the
destruction of his buildings and printing facilities by the insurgents.
Obaigbena said such compassionate approval by the former president
and subsequent payment by the ONSA could not amount to receiving
suspicious funds from the office of the NSA.
The Chief Executive Officer of Thisday said: “We have never
received any suspicious funds from the Office of the National Security
Adviser. All funds received from the Office of the National Security
Adviser were payments for compensation to mitigate the dastardly Boko
Haram Haram twin bombings of the Thisday Newspapers offices in Abuja and Kaduna on Thursday April 26, 2012, during which four innocent Nigerian lives were lost.
“During that attack, our buildings were destroyed and we lost full
colour Goss printing towers and three pre-press Computer-To-Plate and
anxiliary equipment and other invaluable property valued at over N2.5
billion. “This was aside the daily costs to pay third party printers of
over N1 billion having lost our printing facility to terrorists due to
inadequate protection by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
That amount of money was drawn down from the ONSA in March 2015
following the appeal made to Jonathan by the Newspaper Proprietors
Association of Nigeria (NPAN), where he serves as the President. “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.
“On both occasions, President Jonathan said he did not wish to lay
precedence and in our case, he specifically said there were many victims
of Boko Haram. I had to confront President Jonathan on the issue when I
learnt of approvals for the reconstruction of the Abuja United Nations
Building, since we were the second major organisation to be attacked by
Boko Haram after the UN attack.
“Jonathan therefore directed me to meet the National Security Adviser
who processed the three payments in question.” He attached the exchange
of correspondences between him and former President Jonathan and his
approvals to the NSA for payment and said he was ready to meet the EFCC
for clarification once he returned to Nigeria.