This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Newswatch - Court Decides Former Directors' Fate Tomorrow

A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed tomorrow to rule on whether or not to dismiss the petition filed by two former directors who claimed to be representing minority shareholders of the Newswatch Communications Limited, the publisher of the Newswatch magazine, (now Newswatch Daily).

The said petitioners, Mr Nuhu Wada Aruda and Professor Jibril Aminu, are accusing the Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim-led new management of assuming control of the company illegally, though they agreed that there is in existence a Share Purchase Agreement which transferred the majority of the shareholding to Ibrahim.

The petitioners are, therefore, praying the court to quash the powers of the current management of the company who were elected by the majority of the shareholders.

In their petition brought pursuant to sections 310 (a), (b) and (c) and 311(1), (2) (a) and (b) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the former directors are further praying the court to, among others, set aside the Share Purchase Agreement on the basis of which Ibrahim assumed majority shareholding in the company.

They are also praying for an order directing that any verified money by Ibrahim and the Newswatch Communications be refunded to them through the receiver/manager from the funds realised from the operations of the company.

Joined as the defendants in the matter are the Newswatch Communications Limited, Global Media Mirror Limited, Ibrahim, Newswatch Newspapers Limited, and the Corporate Affairs Commission.

At the proceedings yesterday, the presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, fixed the ruling date after listening to oral arguments from the former directors and the respondents' lawyer, Mr. Adekunle Theophilus Oyesanya, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) respectively.

In his argument, Chief Ayorinde, who had filed a preliminary objection to the suit, prayed the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction and that it constitutes an abuse of court process.

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