…Seek restraining order on sanction against company mgt.
By Nkiruka Nnorom
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been slammed with another lawsuit by displeased shareholders of Oando Plc seeking restraining order against SEC, its agents or representatives from acting on its May 31, 2019 letter sanctioning the management of Oando Plc.
The order, filed at the Federal High Court Kano on Friday, February 19, 2021, if granted, will restrain the SEC, its agents or anyone acting on behalf of the Commission from meddling with the affairs, management and activities of Oando Plc.
The shareholders in the persons of Alhaji Yakubu Gumel and Alhaji Kabiru Tambari are suing for themselves and on behalf of the Sokoto Zone Shareholders Association, while Tunde Badmus is suing for himself and for the benefits of Pacesetters Shareholders Association.
Alhaji Tambari Kabiru, one of the applicants, who has been an Oando shareholder since 1991, explaining his decision to sue the apex regulator, said: “I’m not happy with the current state of my investment. I invested my money heavily with the hopes of capital appreciation and this has not been the case. This SEC and Oando case is affecting the appreciation of our investment and it isn’t appreciating, it gets worse each year.
“For over two years now, we have been totally in the dark on our investment in Oando. Where in the world is this done? Other companies that aren’t even oil and gas companies are doing well in the capital market. Oando’s shares would have appreciated greatly if this issue wasn’t hovering over our heads.
“We should be in the league of over N50 per share stock by now. Year on year, our investment has depreciated in value. We are tired. As a shareholder, I am strongly behind the management of Oando. Not everyone can withstand the backlash this crisis has put the management through these past four years and still remain committed to doing the job.
“We have reached out to the SEC and appealed for a resolution, but they haven’t listened to us, that’s why we have taken this matter to court.”
Another applicant representing Pacesetters Shareholders Association, Mr. Tunde Badmus, said: “The good of the company has to be for the good of all stakeholders. We have absolute faith in Oando, its board and management, hence our resolve to stand by the company. As stakeholders, though minority shareholders, we still value our investment and the path being taken by the company.
“We are confident that the board and management will not launder or plunge the company into deliberate difficulty. When the regulators wanted to impose new management on the company, we frowned at it and thankfully that didn’t happen. They should stick to their regulatory role and not try to become operators of the company by imposing a management of their choice on us. We have reached out to the regulator both the old and new management to no avail, hence we had to head for litigation.”
The shareholders also requested an order restraining the SEC’s interim management from interfering with the administration and activities of the company as well as an order restraining SEC from interfering with the shareholder’s exercise and performance of their statutory powers and duties as shareholders.
The SEC’s non-responsive attitude towards the plight of shareholders of the company has been met with criticism.
As explained by the shareholders, Nigeria needs foreign direct investments now more than ever, the investing community is watching and will be discouraged by regulatory actions like these, which make the operating environment appear hostile and unfavourable.
The court hearing between the SEC and aggrieved shareholders has been slated for March 17, where it is hoped a ruling will be delivered by the court.