The long list of benefactors emerging from the controversial #DasukiGate welcomed a new name as Vintage Press Limited, the publishers of The Nation newspapers, on Thursday announced that it had returned the sum of N9 million it received as compensation for seizure of copies The Nation and SportingLife in June, 2014.
According to a statement released by the publishing outfit on Thursday, it was unaware of the source of the money paid to it as compensation even though it believed it was indeed entitled to compensation for the seizure of its publications and attack on its staff by soldiers.
The company stated that “Our response to this unjustifiable infringement of our rights was go to court to get justice and ask for Compensation. We briefed the legal firm of Femi Falana (SAN) to institute an action against the government and the military authorities and demand N300 million compensation.
“Soon after the clampdown, Jonathan hosted the NPAN in Lagos and the issue of compensation was raised with him. He promised to get back to the association through its president, Nduka Obaigbena, the publisher of Thisday. Obaigbena later briefed members that the government had agreed to pay N10 million to each newspaper. A mail followed from the association asking newspapers to submit their statements of claims for compensation.”
Vintage Press said it chose to return the amount paid to it in the light of new revelations about how former national security adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) allegedly misappropriated funds earmarked for arms purchase.
“Now, the source of the payment to us is beyond contention. We now know it came from the ONSA and routed through a private company, General Hydrocarbon Limited. This company is unknown to NPAN. Facts in the public domain show clearly that the money the company collected was for ‘energy consultancy.’
“That this company would collect the compensation on NPAN’s behalf was never disclosed to the association in line with corporate best practice. As a business that subscribes fully to the tenets of sound governance, we are not at ease with this revelation,” it said.
The statement added: “In the light of the foregoing, Vintage Press Limited, publishers of The Nation and Sportinglife, on Wednesday resolved that the N9 million compensation be returned to the NPAN for onward delivery to the source of the money.”