Arms scam: The Guardian didn’t receive any money, says management
THE management of Guardian Newspapers Limited, publishers of The Guardian newspapers, has said it did not receive any money from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) as a compensation for a military clampdown on print media in June 2014 during the Goodluck Jonathan presidency.
In a statement yesterday distancing The Guardian from the multi-million naira scandal involving some newspapers and the former NSA, Sambo Dasuki, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the newspaper, Dr. Alexander Thomopulos, said the organisation never collected N10 million from the Federal Government.
“Even though The Guardian incurred N450,000 loss as a result of the attack, we did not, however, request or file for any compensation. We state categorically that our stand remains the same, as it was in the beginning. Also, we state categorically that The Guardian newspapers did not receive any money and did not ask for any.”
The Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN)’s chairman, Nduka Obaigbena, had said he received N120 million from Dasuki for 12 newspapers including The Guardian.
The NPAN, in a statement on Saturday by its Executive Secretary, Feyi Smith, said the association agreed at a March meeting to distribute N10 million each from the N120 million to the 12 newspapers affected by the military clampdown.
But Thomopulos insisted that the newspaper didn’t attend the NPAN Executive Council meeting of March 17, 2015, where the issue of compensation was discussed.
The Guardian thus joins the list of other newspapers which have stated that they did not receive the N10 million.
The four other newspapers are : African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, publishers of Tribune titles; Peoples Media Limited, publishers of Peoples Daily; Daily Telegraph Publishing Company Limited, publishers of New Telegraph, Saturday Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph; and Independent Newspapers Limited, publishers of Daily Independent newspapers.
The issue came to the fore after Obaigbena, publisher of ThisDay newspapers, admitted receiving N680 million from Dasuki, who is accused of misappropriating over $2.1 billion, money meant to buy weapons to fight the Boko Haram terror group, while he was NSA.
Obaigbena told the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), that Dasuki paid him N670 million as a compensation for the Boko Haram bomb attack on ThisDay office, and an additional N120 million on behalf of the 12 newspapers.