By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – Publishers of Daily Times Newspaper, on Sunday, said they would push a N2billion fundamental rights enforcement suit they filed against the Nigerian Police Force to its logical conclusion, despite intimidations.
In a statement signed by its Managing Editor, Mr. Bonaventure Melah, the newspaper outfit, said its attention was drawn to reports that Police has perfected plans to file fresh charges against its owner, Fidelis Anosike and the Group Managing Director, Noel Anosike.
Melah who doubles as Media Adviser to Folio Communications Plc, printers of the paper, decried that plot to arrest the Anosike brothers came few weeks after the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Abubakar, ordered in writing that all cases against them should be withdrawn.
He described the alleged plot to file fresh charge against the Anosike brothers as a calculated effort to dissuade them from pushing their fundamental right suit already fixed for hearing, vowing that no amount of harassment, intimidation and (or) persecution will compel them to surrender assets of the media company or withdraw the matter.
Aside police, other respondents in the N2bn suit are Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah who is equally laying claim to assets of the media outfit, as well as Chairman of DSTV Adewumi Ogunsanya.
According to the statement, “We have read reports from some online papers that the Police have concluded plans to file fresh charges against the management of Folio Communications Plc, owners and publishers of Daily Times. This is purely childish on the part of the Police particularly, as well as laughable. Just a few weeks back, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Idris Abubakar had invited the management of Folio Communications on the same matter and after investigation side by side the petitions relative to it, the IGP personally directed that all criminal cases against Folio and its owners, Fidelis and Noel Anosike be withdrawn which the Police complied with.
“The petition on which the IGP took the decision also complained that Senator Obiora employed the services of DIG Hyacinth Dagala to invade Daily Times Abuja and Lagos offices, carted away many equipments and properties and how they were arrested and detained, refused bail alongside their staff.
“The letter withdrawing the cases dated 2nd February, 2018 which was signed by ACP Henry Njoku Esq. and Omosun Mathew, Prosecution Officer was addressed to the Registrar, Mpape Magistrate Court, FCT Abuja which clearly said “Take notice that the prosecution wishes to discontinue the above stated cases before this Honourable Court.”
“For the Police to go back to its vomit, as they say of dogs, by again allowing itself to be bamboozled by Ikechukwu Obiorah and Adewumi Ogunsanya into planning to initiate fresh charges on the same matter does not only indicate a ‘stain’ but as well makes mockery of Police hierarchy,” the statement said, adding that the Police, Ikechukwu Obiorah and Adewumi Ogunsanya must have their days in the court beginning Monday for violating their fundamental rights and attempting to scavenge the assets of Daily Times.
“It would interest the public to know that there is a subsisting ruling by the Court of Appeal delivered in 2010 in Lagos which among others things stated clearly that the case involving Folio Communications and Sen. Ikechukwu Obiorah on Daily Times is purely civil and therefore no grounds for criminal charges or trial. If Ikechukwu Obiorah is confident of his claims, why has he refused to challenge that Court of Appeal ruling in the Supreme Court? Why is he running from Court of Appeal down to Magistrate Courts?
“The Inspector General of Police Idris Abubakar has that Court of Appeal ruling as part of the annexure to the documents submitted during investigations. The Police have documents containing investigations earlier carried out by the Police under Inspector General of Police Onovo in which the Police stated clearly that the case is civil and therefore no need to file criminal charges.
“This same Inspector General of Police is also in possession of documents in which the then Hon. Attorney General of the Federation as well as the Attorney General of Lagos State had both stated clearly that there was no cause for criminal prosecution on this matter. The Police high command is also in possession of the various ruling by courts of different jurisdictions since this matter started over ten years ago to the effect that Daily Times is a legitimate property of Folio Communications including the most recent ruling of Monday 22nd May, 2018 in which 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 Sen. 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. This ruling was on a case instituted by Obiorah himself.
“Since 2015, Ikechukwu Obiorah, a lawyer, has been abusing judicial process using the Police and a few black legs in the judiciary. They have committed several acts of illegality and impunity using money and their contact with Police hierarchy. They have been running from Magistrate courts to High Courts and back to Magistrate courts in desperate but futile attempts to hijack and take what is not theirs.
“If the Police, Ikechukwu Obiorah and Adewumi Adesanya like, they should send all the officers and men of the Nigeria Police to surround Daily Times properties in daylight display of abuse of judicial process and show of power and impunity. This they have done several times in the past without achieving their aim because you cannot take what is not yours.
“On our part, Folio Communications Plc and its management shall, no matter what they do, continue to be law abiding, yet resolute in ensuring that justice is done and that assets of Daily Times are not stolen by anybody for that matter,” the statement read.