In a statement yesterday, the organisation explained why it took the decision.
It said: “We are again compelled to comment on the N9 million received by Vintage Press Limited as compensation from the government of ex- President Goodluck Jonathan through the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) for the seizure of our publications, The Nation and SportingLife in June, 2014
“We do this for two reasons. First, to restate the sequence of events that culminated in the payment , thereby debunking insinuations about the motive for the compensation. Second, to inform the public that the N9 million collected from NPAN on behalf of the Jonathan government has been returned to the association .
“This decision was arrived at on Wednesday by the Board and Management of Vintage Press Limited after a painstaking examination of the legal and moral issues arising from the compensation
“In our first comment published in the Saturday, December 12 edition of The Nation, we provided the background to the compensation. We recalled the mindless, illegal and unjustified seizure of thousands of copies of both titles by soldiers in major cities and towns across the country.
“Not only were copies of both papers impounded, our vehicles and drivers were arrested and detained in military barracks. They were released very late, in some instances at 7pm, when it was practically impossible to put the consignments in the market. “We know of no other newspaper that was so harassed and maltreated by soldiers who claimed that they had intelligence reports that newspapers vehicles were to be used by insurgents to ferry arms.
“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.
“This development was discussed with our lawyer who advised that the N10 million compensation was reasonable, following which we resolved to stay action on the suit .
“At subsequent meetings in Lagos and Abuja , NPAN assured members that the government had not changed its mind . At the Abuja meeting in March but year, the association resolved that N1million be paid by each newspaper on receipt of the N10 million towards the acquisition of a befitting corporate office for it.
“In May, the secretary of NPAN, Mr. Feyi Smith, brought a draft for N9 million to Vintage Press Limited. The draft was accepted in good faith, believing it was from the account of the association and also from the appropriate department of government.
“Who was in a better position to deliver a draft from NPAN to Vintage Press than the NPAN secretary? Vintage Press, like other newspapers that received drafts/cheques from the NPAN, did not know that the money was paid to a private company by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and from funds collected by that office specifically for the procurement of arms ? This was until The Nation, in its edition of Friday, December 4, published details of the stupendous sums of money collected by individuals and organisations from the ONSA.
“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.
“We are also uncomfortable with the revelation that the compensation was from the money earmarked for the purchase of arms for troops fighting insurgency.
“This point was stated clearly in our editorial of Wednesday, December 23 in which we said: ‘it is unclear to what extent the extension of the anti- terror war was due to fraud – related factors. But it is clear enough that the war effort was deliberately hampered by fraudulent activities.”
“It is a shame,” we said further, “that there is even a possibility, however slim, that media players helped to create an enabling environment for terrorists, wittingly or unwittingly, by linkage with Dasuki.
“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. A draft for N9million was handed over to Mr Smith today in Lagos.
“The Board and Management of Vintage Press have also resolved not to resume the legal action it asked the firm of Femi Falana (SAN) to initiate against the government and the military authorities but to regard the losses incurred during the period as part of the sacrifice The Nation has made to the enthronement of a new order in our country.
“It was noted with satisfaction that no law of the land was breached in asking for compensation and receiving same from the government but that with the sordid disclosures about the ONSA, Vintage Press cannot in good conscience regard the compensation as a closed case on which nothing can be done.
“However,, we find most uncharitable the infantile claim that the compensation was meant to compromise us. We were highly critical of the Jonathan government for its incompetence as we would of any government that we judge to be incompetent. We remain committed to our mission as a newspaper and declare that no individual or body can dissuade us from this noble cause.”
Source: The Nation Online
Thug attacks police station in Lagos, steals DPO’s uniform (Video)
Men of the Lagos Police Command have paraded a hoodlum who attacked and burnt a police station in the state, carting away the DPO’S uniform
The suspect was arrested while rocking the uniform of a DPO.
He was paraded before newsmen by the Lagos state police command today October 27.
Watch a video of him while being paraded along with others below:
Burial arrangements of killed #EndSARS protester, Anthony Unuode, announced
The burial poster of an endSARS protester, Anthony Unuode, who was attacked and stabbed to death by hoodlums in Abuja, has been released by his family members.
Unuode, who joined other Nigerians to protest against police brutality in Kubwa area of Abuja, was attacked and killed by hoodlums who hijacked the peaceful protest.
He was rushed to the hospital where he later died.
He was 28 years old.
According to his obituary, Anthony who was 28 years, will be interred on October 30.
See his obituary below:
Army denies shooting #EndSARS protesters at Lekki tollgate
The Nigerian Army has denied allegations that it shot and killed peaceful end SARS protesters at Lekki toll plaza on October 20.
The denial was disclosed in a statement released by the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army (NA)
The Acting Director Army Public Relations (ADPR), Major Osoba Olaniyi, however, confirmed the involvement of soldiers in restoring order in Lagos following the imposition of a curfew on the state by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Read the statement below:
“The attention of Headquarters 81 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to a viral video on social media in which it was alleged that civilian protesters were massacred by soldiers at Lekki Toll Plaza. This allegation is untrue, unfounded and aimed at causing anarchy in the country.
At no time did soldiers of the Nigerian Army open fire on any civilian. From the onset of the ENDSARS protest, there was no time personnel of 81 Division Nigerian Army Lagos were involved.
However, the decision to call in the military was taken by the Lagos State Government (LASG) after a 24- hour curfew was imposed.
This was as a result of the violence which led to several police stations being burnt, policemen killed, suspects in police custody released and weapons carted away.
The situation was fast degenerating into anarchy. It was at this point that LASG requested for the military to intervene in order to restore normalcy.
The intervention of the military followed all laid down procedures for Internal Security operations and all the soldiers involved acted within the confines of the Rules of Engagement (ROE) for Internal Security operations.
Finally, Headquarters 81 Division Nigerian Army reiterates Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities did not shoot at any civilian as there are glaring and convincing evidence to attest to this fact.
This allegation is the hand work of mischief makers who will stop at nothing to tarnish the image of the Nigerian Army. The general public is hereby enjoined to discountenance this allegation as there is no iota of truth therein.”
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