$2.1bn arms deal: We didn’t know remunerations were from arms store – Nduka Obaigbena

Chairman of ThisDay newspapers and president of Newspapers Proprietors
Association of Nigeria (NPAN) Nduka Obaigbena has written to EFCC on
allegations he received part of the controversial arms deal money. In a
letter yesterday, Obaigbena said his company and NPAN didn’t know that
the N670million compensation they got from the office of the National
Security Adviser were from arms purchase fund.
Obaigbena disclosed this in his reaction to EFCC on the payments his
company and the 12 other newspapers received from the NSA in 2015. In a
letter sent to EFCC, Obaigbena said;

“When the ONSA (Office of the National Security Adviser) said that they
had approval to pay us, but would rather not set a precedent by paying
THISDAY directly, we nominated a member company of the THISDAY
Newspapers Group, called General Hydrocarbons Ltd., to receive the
payments on behalf of the group of companies, given that the assets of
General Hydrocarbons Ltd – mainly generators – were also destroyed in
the bombings;

“We did ask our insurance consortium to pay compensation but they said
we were not covered for war and or terrorism risk. Until that time, we
never knew we needed war or terrorism insurance in Nigeria as the
government had not officially declared war. With the power of hindsight,
we now know better.

“We simply used the compensation funds to defray some 30 per cent of the
N1.7 billion we already paid to 3rd party printers for services in lieu
of the Abuja press, while we went to our banks for refinancing printing
presses, computer-to-plate and other facilities.”

“We never participated in any arms purchase in any shape or form and
only demanded compensation for a horrendous terrorist act against us. In
the same way, the United Nations and others who may have received some
compensation could not have known the line budget items for the funds
being used for the reconstruction of the UN Abuja buildings. Even the
Nigerian Guild of Editors, which may have received donations for their
secretariat from the ONSA, could not have known which subhead it was
paid from. We simply cannot know or be expected to speculate which line
item the spending was made from by the ONSA. There is simply no nexus
between payments made for compensation, to us victims of terrorism as
well as to newspapers in compensation for an unprovoked attack on free
speech, and any arms purchase budget’

We do not deserve further trauma because some official(s), outside of
our control, may or may not have followed due process. All victims of
terrorist attack deserve a fair and just compensation. The fact that we
have received some remedy should be reason to accelerate compensation
for all victims of Boko Haram attacks across Nigeria however big or
small,” he said.

Declaimer: Opinion expressed in comments are those of the comment writers alone and does not reflect or represent Koko Level’s.