Indications emerged on Tuesday that the publisher of THISDAY Newspapers, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, may have turned himself in to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) over his alleged involvement in the arms deal scandal for interrogation.
Mr. Obaigbena was alleged to have received N620 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA). Investigations by the EFCC linked the payment to part of the $2.1 billion arms fund that was diverted and misappropriated by the former NSA, Sambo Dasuki.
However, Obaigbena had in a letter to the anti-graft commission explained that N500 million was compensation for the 2012 bombing of THISDAY offices in Abuja and Kaduna by Boko Haram while the remaining balance of N120 million was money he received on behalf of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) for the loses some of its members incurred when their newspapers and circulation vans were impounded by the military authorities in 2014.
He said the payment to NPAN was to forestall a major class action suit by the affected newspapers, which were to receive N10 million each as compensation. After deductions, the newspapers walked away with N9 million each.
However, since the disclosure and revelation that the money came from the controversial arms deal fund, some newspapers that collected compensation from NPAN refunded their share while others, on whose behalf the money was collected by Mr. Obaigbena for their loss, distanced themselves from him, denying ever receiving any money from NPAN.
It remains unknown if Obaigbena, who arrived at the EFCC headquarters about 10:00am on Tuesday, was allowed to go home at the time of filing this report.
There was also no official confirmation of the report as the Head, Media and Publicity of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, was unavailable to pick his calls or respond to the sms sent to his phone last night.