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Shareholders Give Condition to Approve Diamond Bank, Access Bank Merger

By Dipo Olowookere

The proposed merger between Diamond Bank and Access Bank is still generating mixed reactions from different stakeholders.

Some hours after the information was confirmed by both banks, shareholders of Diamond Bank gave their views on the issue.

It is important to note that before the merger can scale through, both shareholders of the financial institutions must give their approvals at an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM).

According to shareholders of Diamond Bank Plc, they can only allow the exercise see the light of the day if the board and the management fulfil one condition.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, founder of Independent Shareholders of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr Sunny Nwosu, expressed his happiness with the development.

He said, “I am happy about such an arrangement because it is good for the shareholders,” pointing out that, “It is not an issue of bridge bank where they fizzle out the minority shareholders.”

According to him, the merger will add value for the shareholders, urging both banks to ensure that their shareholders approve the deal by calling for an extraordinary general meeting.

“It is from a quoted company to a quoted company not in the hands of NDIC or the Central Bank of Nigeria, who behave as if they are sole owners of the bank.

“And it is not within the powers of the CBN to take away our investment and call it bridge bank. This is a better deal for us and I know everybody should be involved,” he stated.

On the condition they will give to make the arrangement become successful, Publicity Secretary of the shareholders group, Mr Moses Igbrude, said it is only if the board and management of Diamond Bank foresee it as the only option to sustain the bank.

“If the board and management of Diamond Bank deem it fit that the only way to sustain the bank is to merge with another bank so be it,” Mr Igbrude said.

He said that the bank should ensure that all the stakeholders were carried along to avoid litigation.

“It is unfortunate that the young man that is running the affairs of Diamond Bank could not manage and grow it for the benefits of all and even to sustain his father’s legacy.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and any other regulators concerned should ensure that minority shareholders are carried along and not short-changed in the whole arrangements,” Mr Igbrude stated.

He said that the whole merger process should be transparent, noting that “their aim of building the biggest bank in Nigeria or Africa should not get into their heads without there being a consideration for what it’s will take to manage such an entity.”

Former National Publicity Secretary of Nigerian Shareholders Solidarity Association of Nigeria, Mr Gbadebo Olatokunbo, called for the sanctioning of the board and management of Diamond Bank.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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