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NSE: SHAREHOLDERS CONDEMN USE OF FORCE IN LAYING OFF CEOS

By NBF News
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After over two weeks that the federal high court ruled in favour of erstwhile Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Professor Ndi Okereke Onyiuke , nullifying her sack by the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC), shareholders are worried over who leads the Exchange.

The shareholders under the aegis of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN) condemned the use of force in laying-off Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of companies by regulatory authorities under the pretence of protecting investors.

Addressing newsmen on the state of the capital market over the weekend in Lagos, Chairman, PSAN, Mr. Boniface Okezie said undue interference by the regulatory authorities over activities of private entities under a democratic dispensation should not be allowed.

According to him, 'Due process should be followed by the regulatory authorities. The federal high court ruling is a pointer that due process was not followed in the sack of Onyiuke.'

Continuing, he said ' About ten months after the historic but unparalleled forceful intervention of taking over the affairs of an organisation Limited by Guarantee, that is, the Nigerian Stock Exchange, a court of competent jurisdiction - Federal High Court in Lagos under Justice Mohammed Idris gave a 'declaratory judgment' that nullified the removal of Onyuike as the DG.

But what has happened at and, to the Nigerian Stock Exchange within the nine months period? The past nine months had indeed been 'pregnant' have now given 'birth' to more bigger and threatening situations due to the 'unlawful, reckless and hasty activities of the capital market regulator and its foot-soldiers at the capital market. The Nigerian Stock Exchange today and, indeed the capital market is now trending a major upheaval with serious economic and financial crisis for the Nigerian government, the people and importantly local and foreign investors.'

Following the court ruling, Okezie said shareholders are worried over who leads the Exchange, saying' This' is a million-dollar question since May 20, 2011 when Justice Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos quashed the hasty and unlawful removal of Onyiuke as the D-G of the Stock Exchange on August 5, 2010. Is it Oscar Onyema or is it Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke whom the court declared was never removed whatsoever or howsoever? The market must be waiting for her resumption to complete her tenure.'

The PSAN boss also lamented that the SEC has not been able to come out with its findings over the financial impropriety leveled against the management of the NSE after over one year of its intervention.

In his words 'We are now heading to one year after those allegations, but the apex capital market regulator is yet to make public any verified cases of financial impropriety, especially the allegations that the 'Exchange is insolvent and may soon face bankruptcy and will not be able to meet its financial obligations.' But was the Stock Exchange insolvent under the management of Ndi Okereke-Onyuike? We all know the answer. No. The NSE has never been insolvent.

The regulator or SEC for almost a year has been unable to prove this allegation based on a petition the Commission received but failed to verify before it jumped into action. In fact, the interim administration of Emmanuel Ikhazoboh through the intervention of the stock market regulator, SEC has brought more financial recklessness and burden to the market especially poor investors.'

He condemned attempt by the former interim administrator of the NSE to stop payment of Trade Alert to Adonai Net, (Originator of the Alert system).

According to him, 'Investors have embraced Trade Alert since it acts as a mechanism to checkmate mal practices in the stock market. So if any body should stop such facilities it means that the person is encouraging fraud or corruption. We the investors pay for the services and the NSE should be able to pay the service provider and not truncate the agreement reached between both parties.'