Nigeria: US$2.1b scandal splits umbrella newspapers' body

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The US$2.1 billion arms scandal linked to Nigeria's former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki has split the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), some of whose members reportedly got a share of the funds.

Nigerians have been engrossed in the revelations from the alleged diversion of US$2.1 billion meant for the purchase of weapons for the fight against insurgency by the office of the NSA.

As part of the revelations, the NSA reportedly gave part of the money, a total of 120 million Naira (US$600,000), to some NPAN members as compensation for the losses they incurred in June 2014 when armed soldiers seized newspapers and newspaper distribution vans.

Angered by the money-sharing revelation, one of the NPAN members, Punch newspapers, has suspended its membership of the organization.

“After a careful review of recent, and still unfolding, developments, Punch Nigeria Limited is suspending its membership of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria until further notice. This suspension takes effect immediately

“The source of this (shared) money and the manner of its receipt, allegedly through a company called General Hydrocarbons, which is unknown to NPAN, have raised public concerns about the integrity of the press in Nigeria. The unfolding scandal has equally cast a shadow on the reputation of the mass media,” the paper said this weekend.

On Sunday, another NPAN member, The Sun newspaper, announced it was returning 9 million Naira (US$45,000) that it received from the office of the NSA as compensation for the seizure of its newspapers and stop­page of circulation during the Good­luck Jonathan administration in June 2014.

“In deference to public outcry and the need to protect its corporate integrity, the Management of The Sun Publishing Limited has re­turned the N9 million received from the Presidency through the Newspa­per Proprietors Association of Nige­ria (NPAN) as compensation for the seizure of its newspapers and stop­page of circulation during the Good­luck Jonathan administration in June 2014.

The Sun said it took the decision following the controversy which the payment of the compensation had generated and the need to come clean on the matter.

It is not yet known how other members of the influential NPAN will react to the disclosure.
-0- PANA SEG 20Dec2015

20 december 2015 14:47:11




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