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Operators seek govt’s intervention in SEC, Oando face-off

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Operators in the Nigerian capital market have called for urgent intervention of the Federal Government in the face-off between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Oando Plc.

They reacted in Lagos to the outcome of a forensic audit on Oando released by SEC on May 31, as well as a court injunction restraining SEC from sacking Oando’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Adewale Tinubu, and his deputy, Omomofe Boyo.

The operators applauded the courage of SEC’s Acting Director-General, Ms. Mary Uduk, in releasing the outcome of the forensic audit.

Following the outcome of the forensic audit, SEC on June 2, constituted an interim management team under the leadership of Mutiu Sunmonu for Oando Plc.

It said in a statement that Sunmonu would oversee the affairs the company and conduct an Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) on or before July 1, to appoint new board of directors.

The commission said that the new board of directors would subsequently select a management team for Oando Plc.

However, a Federal High Court in Lagos on June 3, granted an interim injunction restraining SEC from executing the interim management in Oando.

The injunction followed an application filed by Tinubu and Boyo, who applied for the enforcement of their fundamental rights.

The court also restrained SEC from imposing a fine of N91.13 million on Tinubu, and barring him and Boyo from being directors of public companies for five years.

Ambrose Omorodion, the Chief Operating Officer, Invest Data Ltd., said that the Federal Government would need to intervene in the matter to safeguard investors’ confidence.

Omorodion said that the unfolding events between Oando and SEC could dampen investors’ confidence and tamper with Nigeria’s integrity.

He said that the international investment community was watching to see the manner the Oando issue would be handled.

He said: “The way SEC and government will handle this issue will go a long way to determine the success of the nation’s drive for financial inclusion and attraction of new retail investors and foreign investors returning to the market.”

Omorodion also urged the government to strengthen the commission by ensuring appointment of its board members soon.

He expressed disappointment that SEC had been operating without board for about four years and had been with an acting director-general for over a year.

Moses Igbrude, Publicity Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), alleged that shareholders had suffered enough loss in Oando with no dividend and poor market pricing.

Igbrude said that court injunction could lead to long legal battles which could further affect the company’s shares price on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

He urged the exchange to place the share price on technical suspension to protect investors from further loss.

The shareholder activist said that SEC should not allow its authority to be undermined if the outcome of the forensic audit was true.

He said: “I will appeal to whoever that is affected to obey the directives from SEC for the sake of our investments. Oando as a company has suffered enough of reputational risk, adding that shareholders, for a long time, have not been paid dividend.”

Boniface Okezie, National Chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), said: “The grass suffers when two elephants fight.”

Okezie said that SEC and Oando must maintain the peace in the interest of all stakeholders, especially retail investors.

The PSAN boss, who commended the commission for protecting investors, said that SEC should also beam searchlight on other oil companies quoted on the exchange.

The National President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Shehu Mikail, said that the SEC/Oando dispute needed a holistic approach to restore confidence.

“Oando saga is a big issue in the Nigerian capital market that needs a holistic approach if really we are going to adhere to the truth of corporate governance,” Mikali said.

He said that the action of SEC was in the right direction and aimed at protecting the interest of Oando shareholders.

“Foreign investors are watching the drama and local shareholders and stakeholders are also awaiting.

“The outcome of the saga would determine the direction of the capital market,” Mikali added.

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THE NATION

Communications minister, Pantami hails ICT’s contribution to GDP

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The Honourable Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has hailed ICT’s contribution GDP in the second quarter. In the report released by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the contribution of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) surpassed that of Oil and Gas in the second quarter of 2019.

The report, released on Tuesday 2nd September, 2019, observed that the country’s GDP grew by 1.94% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2019 compared to the second quarter of 2018, which recorded a growth of 1.50%. Furthermore, the non-oil sector contributed 91.18% to the nation’s GDP in the second quarter of 2019 as opposed to the 8.82% contributed to total real GP by the oil sector. Particularly, the ICT sector contributed 13.85% to total nominal GDP in the second quarter of 2019 which is much higher than the 11.22% contributed in the same period in 2018.

The Honourable Minister observed that the significant contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP is as a result of the concerted efforts of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, especially the manner in which the implementation of the administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) is being pursued. These efforts, he said, led to a sustained focus on growing the non-oil sector of the economy, especially ICT and the results witnessed are testimonies of impact of these efforts.

The Honourable Minister reiterated the Communications Ministry’s commitment to the economic diversification efforts of the present administration and called on all stakeholders to support Mr President’s laudable initiatives aimed at taking Nigeria to the next level.

 

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FMBN to provide affordable homes for Nigerian workers

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FMBN CEO, Ahmed Dangiwa

The managing director and chief executive officer of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa said the Bank is committed to providing affordable mortgages to drive home ownership among Nigerian workers.

Dangiwa was speaking when the Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Sir Joseph N. Ari and his team paid him a courtesy call in the bank’s headquarters in Abuja.

In a statement, Dangiwa said providing affordable mortgages to Nigerian workers is done through the National Housing Fund(NHF) Scheme into which Nigerian workers both in public and private sectors contribute 2.5% of their monthly income.

“Through the scheme, the bank has continued to provide affordable mortgage to Nigerian workers and construction finance for housing development. Our National Housing Fund (NHF) individual mortgage loan, granted at 6%, is the most affordable in the country” Dangiwa said.

In his response, the Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Sir Joseph N Ari, commended FMBN on the giant strides in reforming the bank under the present management.

Ari said the purpose of the visit was to provide a platform that the two organisations will work together for their mutual benefits.

He called on FMBN to arrange for a sensitisation workshop for the staff of ITF.

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NURTW members protest Oluomo’s emergence as caretaker committee chair

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Some members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Lagos State on Wednesday marched on the premises of the Lagos State House of Assembly in Alausa, Ikeja.

They protested the emergence of Musiliu Akinsanya aka MC Oluomo as the chairman of the caretaker committee of the union.

The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as: ‘We say yes to union constitution, we want the government to save our soul in Lagos’, ‘We say no to Lagos NURTW, we say no to imposition’, ‘We say no to self-imposition as NURTW Lagos State chairman’, ‘We say no to thuggery in Lagos NURTW’, and others.

NURTW National President Alhaji Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa appointed MC Oluomo as the caretaker chairman, Lagos State chapter of the union.

It was gathered that Baruwa issued a statement on Tuesday dissolving the executive committee of the state chapter hitherto headed by Comrade Tajudeen Agbede, who is now Baruwa’s deputy, and replaced it with an 18- member caretaker committee led by MC Oluomo.

MC Oluomo, the chairman of Oshodi branch, Lagos chapter of the union, is one of those contesting for the Lagos State NURTW chairmanship.

Speaking during the protest, one of the leaders, the Chairman of Ojuwoye NURTW branch, Ademola Olanrewaju, alleged that MC Oluomo’s emergence would cause chaos.

“A meeting was held yesterday and after the meeting, it was decided that MC Oluomo should emerge as the chairman of the caretaker committee.

“Directly or indirectly, they are trying to impose him on us because there was fracas in Abuja and both parties were supposed to be dealt with, but MC Oluomo’s group was exonerated.

“What we are agitating for is that we don’t want MC’s government in Lagos State.

“Lagos State has given us the little it can in terms of empowerment, by giving us what to eat.”

At press time, no government official had addressed the protesters.

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