4 December 2012

Nigeria: Court Asked to Dismiss Jimoh Ibrahim's Suit

Photo: Leadership
Jimoh Ibrahim, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Newswatch magazine.

Lagos — Four founding directors of Newswatch Communications Limited yesterday urged a Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a suit filed by the chairman of the company, Jimoh Ibrahim, over the Share Purchase Agreement of the magazine.

The directors - Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese, Yakubu Mohammed and Soji Akinrinade - said the suit was "a pure attempt" to waste the precious judicial time of the court.

Ibrahim had sued the directors with one of his companies, Global Media Mirror Limited, over the Share Purchase Agreement of Newswatch magazine.

At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, their counsel, Adekunle Oyesanya (SAN), prayed Justice Okon Abang to dismiss the suit on the ground that the plaintiffs (Ibrahim and Global Media Mirrow) failed to reveal reasonable cause of action against them in the suit.

Counsel to the plaintiffs, Adenrele Adegorioye, had prayed the court to dismiss the preliminary objection filed by Ekpu and others to the suit and maintained that the founding directors lacked the power to declare trade dispute as contained in their letter to Ibrahim Jimoh because they are no longer owners of the company.

Adegorioye had argued that since Ekpu and other directors of Newswatch had resigned and sold the company, they no longer have the power and mandate to continue to act as directors or remain on the board of the company.

Puncturing Adegorioye's position, Oyesanya maintained that the lawyer confused directorship with shareholding.

Ekpu and others were dismissed from the board of the company in October on the grounds of their alleged failure to comply with obligations incumbent upon them under the Share Purchase Agreement.

In the suit, the plaintiffs averred that the said Share Purchase Agreement requires Ekpu and others to have "appropriate shares" to be on the board of the company.

According to the plaintiffs, Section 7.0 of the Share Purchase Agreement also provides that "both parties agree that the founding members of the company retiring could take up appointments as consulting editors, up to a period of two years, or membership of the board, where appropriate".

The court adjourned the case to December 7 for re-adoption of written arguments of the parties in the suit.

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