By NBF News

Following the sack of Dr. Ndi Okereke Onyuike as the Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), over allegations of misappropriation of an estimated N11 billion levelled against her by the embattled council president of the exchange, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has appointed Mr. Emmanuel Ikhazobor as interim administrator of the NSE.

The development, which broke out late Wednesday August 4, saw security agents take over the NSE building, early yesterday morning apparently to forestall any protest, amid series of consultations with stockbrokers, by the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Arunma Oteh.

The emergence of Mr. Emmanuel Ikhazoboh, a Forensic Auditor, as the interim administrator for the exchange, according to SEC was to ensure that an exhaustive investigation is conducted into the books of the NSE with a view to unravel all aspects of the fraud allegations, after which a new substantive DG would be named.

Ikhazobor was reported to have built up more than three decades of experience in auditing, consulting and financial advisory services after joining Akintola Williams Deloitte, the Nigerian arm of the global auditing firm, in 1975, according to the firm's Website.

However, Daily Sun gathered reliably that the former DG may be heading for the courts, to contest her removal from office by the commission. Several reactions have continued to trail the removal of Onyuike, which many believed, was long over due, just as some said the action of the apex regulator was justified by rules and procedures.

According to a stockbroker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the choice of Ikhazoboh, was not unconnected with the fact that Akintola Willaims had been auditing the account of the stock exchange since its inception, and 'since they are carrying forensic auditing with reference to the petition written by the former president of the council against the embattled the DG, they can have details access to account of the exchange. Akintola Williams being the accredited auditors and Mr. Ikhazobor, who only retired from the audit firm two years ago after a meritorious service, will help the authorities in getting to the root of the crisis, the source said.

The source said brokers were disenchanted with the sudden removal because due process was not followed, adding that while fraud must not be condoned, due process must be followed under the rule of law. He said the imposition of the interim administrator on the market might further erode the market.

Speaking on the issue, the former publicity secretary of the Shareholders Solidarity Association of Nigerian (SSAN), Mr. Gbadebo Olatokunboh said the sack was deserved because the management of the NSE under Okereke Onyuike neglected proper monitoring of the stock market.

He stressed the decision of SEC to wield the big stick was in order, adding that the commission should not waste time in unravelling the truth about all the alleged misdeeds of the former DG.

Olatokunboh disclosed that the anti graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the State Security Services (SSS), should do their best to ensure that everybody found culpable are brought to book.

He urged that proper sanctions be meted out to all offenders in the stock market, no matter the personality involved in order to serve as deterrent to others. He stated that the era of privileged criminals should be done away with if the much needed investorsí confidence is be restored.

SEC had on Wednesday, through its director/Head, media, Mr. Lanre Oloyi said the commission has decided that it is in the interest of the public and necessary to protect the investor to issue the following directives that the council member elected as president of the exchange in defiance of the court order cease acting as the President pending the outcome of the ongoing litigation; council members elected in defiance of the court order cease acting as members of the council pending the outcome of the ongoing litigation; current Director-General of the Exchange, Professor Ndi Okereke-Onyuike, be removed from the office of Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the NSE; affairs of the exchange are to be managed by an Interim Administrator appointed by the commission pending the selection of a new Director General.