Blueprint has joined The Sun, Daily Trust and Leadership newspapers to return the N9m it received as compensation from the office of the National Security Adviser during administration of Goodluck Jonathan.
Some Nigerian dailies allegedly received N9million each in 2014 for the seizure of its publications by security agents.
Following investigations into the arms procurement deal of the immediate-past administration, it was gathered that the “conpensation” was part of the $2.1 billion disbursed by former NSA Sambo Dasuki to individuals and organisation in the build-up to the last general elections.
A statement by Blueprint’s Executive Director, Operations, Salisu Umar, on Tuesday said a Guarantee Trust Bank draft of N9 million had already been paid to NPAN.
“The infraction on the rights of some newspapers by some agents of the Federal Government was widely reported in 2014.
“Specifically, the said agents seized numerous copies of the affected newspapers, including Blueprint.
“And in line with the dictates of the rule of law, the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and the affected members chose to head to court for redress.
“In its wisdom however, the federal government led by the then President Goodluck Jonathan, after a peace parley with the NPAN leadership, agreed to an out-of-court settlement, consequent upon which the affected media organisations , including Blueprint Newspaper, got N9miilion each.
“This decision, to any reasonable mind is very much in order as it simply demonstrated that the federal government rightfully admitted its wrongdoing.
“However, in view of the unfolding development surrounding the arms deal investigation, which supposedly revealed that the restitution was paid from fund set aside for arms deal, the Board of Directors, has refunded same (N9million) via a GTB bank draft No 04378726, drawn in NPAN’s name, dated February 1, 2016, and forwarded to NPAN Secretariat.
“In the least, this will certainly put to rest some misgivings that have been on over the compensation paid to media owners
“May we also add here that more than any other thing, the board considers this a great sacrifice if that would only uphold the integrity of the media as a member of the Fourth Estate of the Realm and the true watchdog of the society.
“Finally, we shall continue to abide by NPAN’s decision on this and any other matter bordering on its members’ interest,“ said the statement.