As the N2billion suit filed by Anosike brothers against the Nigerian Police and a former lawmaker, Sen. Ikechukwu Obiorah for illegal arrest, detention and abuse of their fundamental rights comes up for hearing next week Monday, they have again written a second petition to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Hon. Justice Walter S.N Onnoghen against the decision of the Nigerian Police to subvert the course of justice by initiating fresh criminal charges against them.
They also added in the petition that there is a subsisting 2010 Court of Appeal ruling which dismissed criminal charges against them and their company Folio Communications on grounds that the dispute between them and Ikechukwu Obiorah was purely civil and therefore should not be grounds for criminal prosecution at all.
In the petition dated 6th June, 2018 and made available to newsmen Thursday, Anosike brothers and their company Folio Communications Plc, publishers of Daily Times urged the CJN to treat the matter as urgent in order to “combat this illegality, high level of unprofessionalism and in view of an extant detrimental act being perpetrated by Messer Ikechukwu Obiora, Kalu Onuoha and others which if not restrained at this time and these men called to order, may escalate into a quagmire capable of ruining the perception of the profession, causing great injustice, loss of business and an act that can only be described as an abuse of court process in impunity.”
Signed by the Group Managing Director, Folio Communications Plc, Barr. Noel Anosike, the petition traced the roots of the matter in issue to their legitimate bid and successful acquisition of Daily Times in 2004, stating that Ikechukwu Obiorah who was never party to any of the rigorous but transparent privatisation process that led to their purchase and full payment of Daily Times has been fighting dirty to acquire the properties of the company in collusion with some elements in the Nigeria, this time, its hierarchy.
“My Lord Sir, we wish to bring to your notice that the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) advertised for sale among other assets of the Federal Government Daily Times of Nigeria Plc for privatisation which we bided for and at the end of a very competitive bid emerged as the preferred bidder
and went ahead to pay the required fee for the purchase of 233,754,840 ordinary shares of the company at the sum of #1,250,000,000 (One Billion Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira Only) in full payment of the above shares to the BPE, receipts of payment to that effect issued by the BPE on behalf of the Federal Government and the cover letter that accompanied them, the Share Sale and Purchase Agreement signed between BPE on behalf of the Federal Government and the Deed of Transfer are hereby attached and rightly marked as Annexures 1a– 1e, 2 and 3.
“Ikechukwu Obiora and his cohorts in 2010 got the services of some men in the Police and that of the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to file criminal charge against us for frivolous issues that were purely civil.
In our response to the suit through our lawyers and upon making it clear that these men have approached the court with half-truth, the then Inspector General of Police, IGP Onovo, directed that the matter be referred to the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) for legal advice,
and he further found that the case was purely civil in nature after due consideration of the DPP’s report on the matter. The letter of directive from the IGP and the subsequent report of the committee set up by the Honourable Attorney – General of the Federation on the above issue are also hereby attached and marked as Annexures 5 and 6 respectively.
“Still unrepentant, these— went through the back door to secure a judgment against us in a matter that we were not made parties but they constituted themselves as both plaintiff and defendant, a judgment that Justice Okeke delivered to them in 2010 on the basis of which they carried out a purported Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Daily Times of Nigeria Plc and removed us as Directors of a company that we successfully bought from the Federal Government, this they did through some unscrupulous staff/officers of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Upon becoming aware of this, we through our counsel filed and appealed the said decision and the Court of Appeal in a consolidated appeal dismissed the said judgment, My Lord, the judgment of the Appellate Court in the consolidated appeal with Appeal Nos CA/298/2010, CA/298A/2010 and CA/298B/2010 are also hereby attached and marked Annexures 7a -7c.
“Despite the forgoing, and prior to this time, Mr. Ikechukwu Obiora have been engaging the services of Kalu Onuoha to file several matters against us most of which have always been struck out or even withdrawn by them in several courts both in Lagos and Abuja one of which is WIPARQUET Limited v. Daily Times of Nigeria Plc with Suit No. MIK/3450/17 where they constituted themselves as both Claimant and Defendant thereby deceiving the court into granting them judgment with which they went and demolished Daily Times property in Cooper Road Lagos, threw out the tenants there, destroyed their properties among others”
Most disturbing My Lord, is the ugly incident that happened at the beginning of this year where Mr. IkechukwuObiorahatched a plan which they successfully carried out alongside men of the Nigerian Police Force with the services of a Chief Magistrate, Azubuike Ukagu arrested, arraigned and detained us in Kuje prison for over 7 (Seven) days, same fate befell our staff who they also on the engineering of Ikechukwu Obiora spent more than 7 (Seven) days too in FCIID Area 10 Abuja.
It on the basis of the above that we filed a matter for the enforcement of our fundamental human against the Inspector General of Police, DIG Dagana (now retried) and Ikechukwu Obiora, a matter which is still subsisting at the Federal High Court with the next date being Monday 11th June 2018.
Permit us My Lord to also bring to your notice that in line with the several law suits which can only be described as vexatious and abuse of court process, Ikechukwu Obiora through Kalu Onuoha instituted Suit No. CV/16/18 deceiving the court into granting them an order of interim injunction which we challenged through our Counsel and the Court after considering the facts as placed before it struck out the matter, the order of interim injunction and the court’s ruling striking out the matter are also hereby attached and marked as Annexure 8 and 9.
It is with deep sense of responsibility, being law abiding and on good authority that we make bold to state clearly at this point to you My Lord, that MrIkechukwu Obiora, a serial litigant who is hell-bent on using all his resources to ensure the clamp-down of the operations and activities of Daily Times of Nigeria Plc, has once again obtained the services of the Police to filed a 20 (Twenty) Count charges against us over the same issues and facts that constituted the charge filed against us in 2010.
The said Charge Sheet and the Summary of the case is also hereby attached and marked as Annexure 10. With your kind permission My Lord, may we state here that assuming without conceding that the above mentioned charge/suit is instituted uberrima fides by the same Federal Government that sold and executed the Share Sale and Purchase Agreement (SSPA) attached earlier (Annexure 2), could it have so soon forgotten the provisions of Clause 10.2 of the SSPA which states that;
‘’Any dispute, controversy or claim of any nature whatsoever arising out of or in connection with this Agreement, or the breach, termination or invalidity thereof, shall be referred to arbitration and settled by three arbitrators appointed in accordance with the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (Cap 19) Laws of Nigeria 1990. The parties consent to arbitration hereunder.’’
It would be recalled that last week also, an Abuja Magistrate court struck out a suit seeking to stop Folio Communications Plc from publishing Daily Times of Nigeria. It was the fifth time different courts have delivered similar rulings, thereby affirming the paper’s ownership by the Anosike brothers.
In the ruling, His Worship R. J Egbe of Magistrate Court 13 Wuse Zone 2 Abuja said he was aware that there was an ownership dispute existing between Folio Communications Plc and Ikechukwu Obiora on Daily Times of Nigeria as well as Consent Judgement entered between the two parties following resolution of the matter by stakeholders in 2006 which from records has not been vacated by any court of competent jurisdiction and therefore cannot grant the plaintiff’s prayers to stop the publication of Daily Times.
“However, I cannot feign ignorance or pretend that there is more to it. The totality of the evidence before me by way of affidavit evidence and exhibits particularly, exhibit 6, seems to me that there is an ownership dispute of the plaintiff between the defendants and the deponent to the counter- affidavit.
The tort of passing – off can only be derived from the right of ownership. Therefore, it is my view that it will be meaningless to deal with the right of passing off without the right of ownership.
It will amount to placing something on nothing and a sheer waste of time and energy which this Court is not ready to embark on. The case is therefore struck out,” the Magistrate had ruled.