The Vintage Press Limited, publisher of The Nation and Sporting Life newspapers, has admitted that it received N9million as compensation for publications seized by security agents. Mr. Victor Ifijeh, managing director, Vintage Press Limited, said that the company got “a paltry N9 million” instead of the N300 million it demanded from the Federal Government as compensation for bundles and copies of its newspapers seized by security agents in different parts of the country last year.
The Nation was named by the President of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Nduka Obaigbena, as among the beneficiaries of the sum of N120 million obtained from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki.
Explaining the company’s position, Ifijeh recalled that the company had written a letter to the NPAN, notifying it of the company’s decision to demand the sum of N300 million from the Federal Government as compensation or resort to legal action.
The letter dated July 16, 2014 and signed by the company’s Managing Editor (Online/Special Duties), Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin, stated that Vintage Press Limited had suffered “monumental losses” from the clampdown on The Nation and Sporting Life.
“The days in question were Friday June 6, Saturday June 7 and Sunday June 8, 2014,” the letter stated.
“On these days, soldiers who said they were acting under instructions ‘from above’ willfully and maliciously impounded the circulation vans of Vintage Press Limited carrying bundles and copies of The Nation and Sporting Life for distribution and sales across the country.
“The vans were impounded on the highways of Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo, Delta, Niger, Kogi, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Imo, Abia, Enugu states and the FCT, Abuja.
“The soldiers arrested and detained in military barracks some of our drivers.
“Consequent upon the foregoing, over 100,000 copies of The Nation and 140,000 copies of Sporting Life on each of the three days could not be distributed and sold.
“The losses of Vintage Press Limited can be broken down as follows:
.Unsold copies of The Nation and Sporting Life seized across the country
.Advertisements in the papers on those days were affected.
.The emotional stress and psychological effect of this barbaric act on the company and its staff.”
By Dike Onwuamaeze