The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has denied receiving any cash payment from the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
There had been reports that the NGE got N50 million donation from Dasuki’s office but the National President of the body, Garba Deen Mohammed, in a statement on Wednesday, said the money was appropriately paid into an account of the guild.
He explained that the NGE had on April 10, 2015, held a fundraising dinner at the Transcorps Hilton Hotel, Abuja, to raise N850m for the construction of a befitting secretariat in Abuja, to be called The Editors Plaza.
According to him, “It was a public event, attended by several dignitaries among them federal cabinet ministers, state governors and captains of industry or their representatives.
“Former President Goodluck Jonathan was invited to the event at which he was represented by the former Minister of Information and National Orientation Mr. Labaran Maku.
“At the event, Mr. Maku, among other donors, publicly pledged N50million as the federal government’s contribution towards the building project. Indeed the announcement of this donation has been on the website of the NGE since April 12, 2014; and is still there for those who may wish to verify.”
He stated that shortly after the event, the Federal Government redeemed its pledge through a direct fund transfer into the Zenith Bank account of the NGE.
He stated categorically that neither Femi Adesina, who was the president of the Guild at the time nor any other official of the body collected cash from the government “as has been erroneously alleged by Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, publisher of THISDAY newspapers in a letter he sent to the EFCC and made public on Monday, January 4, 2016”.
The statement reads further:
Shortly after the event, the federal government redeemed its pledge through a transfer direct into the Zenith bank account of the NGE. For the avoidance of doubt, neither Mr. Femi Adesina, who was the President of the Guild at the time nor any other official of the Guild collected cash from the government
Funds collected by the Guild during the fundraiser have so far been invested in two projects viz:
(I) The purchase of a property in Lagos which we have named The Editors House
and is located at No. 24, Mojidi Street, Off Toyin Street, Ikeja-Lagos.
(II) Paying compensation, clearing and fencing of our 5, 600 Sqm piece of land
at Guzape, Abuja, which is the site of the proposed Editors Plaza.
In Lagos, we have since commissioned a team of engineers and architects for the purpose of renovating the property, a twin duplex, preparatory to our moving in hopefully in the first quarter of 2016; while in Abuja, we have already commenced the process of obtaining a building permit from the authorities of the FCT preparatory to the groundbreaking ceremony for the Editors Plaza building later in the year 2016.”