The dust raised by the revelation that a number of newspapers allegedly received funds from the ex-National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan is yet to settle as the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN has reacted to earlier denials of the affected media houses.
According to a report by The Sun, NPAN, in a statement by its Executive Secretary, Feyi Smith, said that the money paid to the newspapers was compensation for the disruption of newspaper circulation carried out by the military while searching for terrorist materials.
It noted that the offer of compensation by the former President Jonathan’s NSA was discussed and accepted by the Executive Council of NPAN.
The statement reads in full: “Our attention has been drawn to statements issued by the Nigerian Tribune, Peoples’ Daily and New Telegraph Newspapers claiming that they did not receive the compensation for the military disruption of circulation of newspapers by the Federal Government.
“It should be recalled that the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) Executive Council meeting of March 17, 2015, held at the offices of Daily Trust, Abuja, resolved to accept the N120 million compensation and passed two other resolutions thereto:
(1) that each member-organisation accepts to donate N1 million from the compensation to the Association for the up-keep of the Secretariat;
(2) that members should bring their membership account current, by paying all past dues to the Secretariat before collecting their cheques.
The cheques for the Nigerian Tribune and Peoples’ Daily remain in the Secretariat awaiting collection.
“In the case of New Telegraph, the Secretariat was confronted with a situation where 13 newspapers made claims while compensation for 12 newspapers was made. Blueprint Newspapers, which was inadvertently omitted from the list has since been paid.
“When New Telegraph now demanded payment that had been collected by Blueprint Newspapers, the secretariat then brought the matter to the attention of the President, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, who then called Governor Orji Kalu, the Publisher of both the Sun Newspapers (who had been paid) and the New Telegraph (which has not been paid), to urge him to be patient for the matter to be tabled at the next Executive Council meeting, where he would seek the approval of the EXCO to take the funds earmarked for the Secretariat to pay them.”