Founders of Newswatch magazine, Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese, Soji Akinrinade and Yakubu Mohammed have vowed to challenge their alleged sacking by the Chairman and Chief Executive of the board, Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim.
Ibrahim recently bought the controlling shares of the magazine.
Ekpu said this on Tuesday in Lagos while speaking on behalf of the team during the public presentation of Moving Circles, a collection of articles co-authored by them.
Ekpu said when they admitted Ibrahim into the Newswatch Communications fold on May 5, 2011, they thought judging by the earlier discussions, that the original vision of the magazine would be enriched by value-adding investment.
He said, “We thought Ibrahim came to help journalism, not to harm it. We thought he came to support journalism, not to scuttle it. We thought he came to buy and build and not buy and bury our dear magazine.
“When you kill a publication, you kill the hopes and aspirations of millions of readers, advertisers, distributors, vendors, researchers and the general public.”
Ekpu lamented the fate of the publication they nurtured for 27 years, saying the businessman carefully camouflaged his intentions when he first approached them.
“Ibrahim has been mouthing incomprehensible sentiments about our Dele Giwa, trying to fraudulently ingratiate himself against the iconic journalist. The Dele Giwa we knew would never have contemplated the non-publication of Newswach even for one week. Never!”
He further said the publication’s Billings Way, Oregun, Ikeja office is now a deserted village as its assets were currently being stripped.
According to him, the staff are in a quandary while there is an exhibition of what he called “a vicious strategy of ethnic cleansing”.
He said they were poised to fight the injustice that was meted out to the now rested outfit and everyone who had been affected by the decision.
“Newspapers is much more than a business. It is the nation’s battle-axe. We will oppose this madness. We will challenge these illegalities,” he stressed.