By Chuks Ehirim
A group which calls itself South East Forum for Justice and Economic Empowerment[SEFOJE], has alleged that the Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr Ade Ipaye, has embarked on a plot to frustrate the re-launch of Daily Times group of newspapers even as the management of the company appears to have concluded plans to resume the publication of Daily Times Newspaper and other publications in the stable.
According to the group, indications have emerged that the Attorney General of Lagos State acting in concert with other contending forces may have perfected plans to once again ensure that the dream did not see the light of the day, after all.
According to information contained in a petition to the Inspector General of Police written by a pan- Igbo socio- cultural group South East Forum for Justice and Economic Empowerment (SEFOJE), the Lagos State Attorney General, Mr. Ade Ipaye, is carrying out an agenda that is motivated by ethnic sentiments to see that Daily Times remains perpetually out of circulation.
In the petition dated 10th August 2012 and signed by Desmond Ezuruonwu, a copy of which was made available to newsmen over the weekend, the group described as unfortunate the relentless commitment of the Lagos State Attorney General to an agenda that was clearly a perversion of the cause of justice as well as detrimental to the success of the Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government especially with concern to employment of Nigerians.
“We have it on good authority that the Lagos State Attorney General has been approached by one Mr. Ikechukwu Obiora to once again drag the owners of Daily Times Plc to court so that their concluded plans to roll out Daily Times, Business Times, Lagos Weekend and other publications under the Daily Times Group would be kept on hold again. We view this fresh plot as mischievous and ethnic motivated.
“This is so because some sectional interests have vowed in the past to ensure that Daily Times under the management of people from a particular geo- political zone would not see the light of the day. Otherwise, what is the interest of Lagos State in this matter? The Lagos State Attorney General knows very well that this new plan like the ones in the past will not lead to anywhere as Daily Times was acquired legitimately.
“The planned resumption of another round of fruitless court action has the same ill motive to frustrate the organisation from making progress as scheduled. This latest move is clear evidence that some people would do whatever in their powers to see that anything that is not under their control is rather destroyed, no matter how beneficial it is to the public. The Management of Daily Times has proved in the past their capacity to effectively operate the outstanding media outfit. This is evidenced by the publication of the four papers in the stable and their employment of thousands of Nigerians before these detractors struck the first time,” Ezuruonwu said.
It would be recalled that an Ikeja High Court late this year, dismissed a case instituted against the Anosike brothers on the sale of Daily Times of Nigeria (DTN) which their company, Folio Communications Limited, bought in the privatization exercise by government of public enterprises in the country.
Justice Habeeb Abiru in striking out the case said it was unfair for the prosecution to be delaying the case at the detriment of the accused persons who may suffer unjustly as a result of the delays. “If your home is not tidy, why should the people outside suffer?” the judged had asked the prosecution which was represented in court by Mr. LA Sanusi of the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution.
South East Forum for Justice and Economic Empowerment (SEFOJE) was at the forefront of the calls in the past by some individuals and groups on President Goodluck Jonathan to sack the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister for Justice for his role in the crisis that has constituted hindrances to the progress of Daily Times Newspapers. The group had alleged that the action of the AGF was repugnant to government’s determination to administer the country in line with the rule of law, Justice and equity.