SaharaReporters has learned that equipment belonging to Arise TV in New York City was seized sometime in 2015 as part of a dispute, according to confidential sources speaking with our correspondent.

Nduka Obaigbena

This is the latest development in an ongoing controversy involving Arise TV and its owner Nduka Obaigbena, who has been accused by Nigerian law enforcement authorities of accepting stolen money from former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki.

SaharaReporters has previously reported that Mr. Obaigbena, who is also the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Thisday newspaper, accepted this stolen money to support former President Goodluck Jonathan in his re-election campaign last year.

Last week, news broke that Arise TV had gone off air in London with little explanation coming from the corporate hierarchy.  British sources said he debts in the country were in the region of £3m, including nearly £1m owed to Arise TV employees.

These developments followed the revelation in December 2015 that Mr. Obaigbena, in his capacity as chairman of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), accepted N670 million from Mr. Dasuki.

A SaharaReporters correspondent in New York spoke with a source with knowledge of Arise TV’s operations in the United States. This source, who did not want to be named, declined to disclose detailed information but explained that “whatever equipment [Arise TV and Mr. Obaigbena] had, has been seized.”

This individual refused to specifically address whether he was legally obligated to not offer public comment about the situation. He however described our correspondent’s inquiries into the matter as “small” compared to the larger situation, referring to the money Mr. Obaigbena accepted from Mr. Dasuki.

In recent years, Mr. Obaigbena has had a running battle with his staff at Thisday newspaper, where he is often months behind in meeting their wages.

In 2015, the newspaper was picketed for several months by the Nigeria Union of Journalists over salaries he had failed to pay his staff for many months.

Prior to that, in 2013, he was sued by Paul Ibe, one of his former editors, who said Obaigbena owed him a boatload in unpaid salaries and entitlements between 2000 and 2002 when he served as the newspaper’s South Africa correspondent. 

Mr. Obaigbena made his foray into publishing in 1986 in Lagos, where he gave birth to ThisWeek newsmagazine.  His pioneer editor resigned in about one year, citing Obaigbena’s unprofessional practices.

This is an updated version of a previous story published on January 21st, 2016.

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