An Abuja Chief Magistrate court on Monday May 28th, struck out a suit seeking to stop Folio Communications Plc from publishing Daily Times of Nigeria. This is the fifth time different courts have delivered similar rulings, thereby affirming the paper’s ownership by the Anosike brothers.
In the latest ruling which was delivered by his Worship, R. J Egbe of Magistrate Court 13 Wuse Zone 2 Abuja, the judge 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 the 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 judge ruled
Earlier, the Magistrate had also thrown out counter affidavit tendered by plaintiffs following argument by counsel to the Anosike’s that having heard addresses by both side, he should not have allowed the tendering of more documents and affidavits. His worship therefore struck it out saying “I agreed with the defendants’ counsel, after parties had argued their cases, I could not have asked parties to adduce further or additional evidence to substantiate or support their case at the expenses of any of parties. That was not my intention. My intention was strictly to be addressed on how a judgment of a competent Court could lapse by operation of law and or effluxion of time without more. Therefore, the plaintiff’s further counter affidavit and all the exhibits attached thereto is struck out”.
The defendants through their Counsel filed a Notice of Preliminary objection dated and filed on the 22nd of February, 2018 against the suit of the plaintiff on eight (8) grounds as in the face of the preliminary objection. The preliminary objection is brought pursuant to section 251(1)(e) and (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.