Shareholders Seek Buhari’s Intervention on Suspension of Oando Shares

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to use his good office to intervene in the suspension of shares of Oando Plc on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) placed a technical suspension on the shares of the leading Nigerian energy group last year.

The technical suspension made it possible for the shares of the firm to be traded at the stock market, but without price change.

A statement issued by the NSE on October 23, 2017 had noted that, “The shares of Oando Plc have been placed on technical suspension.

“Thus, the shares will be available for trading but there will be no price movement while the technical suspension subsists.”

The action followed outcome of a panel set up by SEC, which indicted Oando of violating some capital market regulations.

A forensic audit of the company was ordered by the apex regulator in the nation’s capital market, which observers are expecting to see the light of day.

Worried by the effect the crisis has had on them, some shareholders of the company appealed to President Buhari to see how he can influence SEC to lift the embargo place on the equities of Oando.

At a press conference on Tuesday in Lagos, a group known as Concerned Shareholders of Oando Plc urged Mr Buhari to use his good office to intervene in the crisis.

Speaking on behalf of the shareholders, Mr Patrick Ajudua, said they were not against the probe, but only want full trading activities to resume on the shares.

Since it was place on technical suspension last year, the shares of Oando have remained frozen at N5.99k per share.

SEC had explained that the halt in price movement was to stop any insider trading on the equities of Oando, which could give some shareholders an undue advantage.

At the press briefing held today at the Radison Blu Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos, Mr Ajudua said, “We agree that SEC has to do its part, by conducting the forensic audit, but they have to help us by lifting this technical suspension.”

“We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the matter this afternoon,” he said at the briefing.

Last month, some shareholders of the firm under the aegis of Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN) and Trusted Shareholders’ Association (TSA) staged a protest in Abuja, asking the apex capital market regulator to immediately kick off the audit.

The aggrieved investors also called for the immediate suspension of the management of Oando so as to allow an unhindered process.

The Oando crisis started when two key shareholders of the firm wrote petitions to SEC, alleging management of gross financial misconduct.

The two shareholders were Mr Dahiru Mangal and Ansbury Incorporated. Their petitions led to the suspension of Oando shares.

However, on Sunday, January 7, 2018, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, brokered a peace between Oando Plc’s group chief executive, Mr Adewale Tinubu, and Mr Dahiru Mangal.

Mr Mangal owns 17.9 percent share capital of Oando Plc and as part of the peace deal brokered by the Emir of Kano, Mr Muhammadu Sanusi, there would be consideration for Mr Mangal to have a representation on the Board of Oando subject to the provisions of relevant regulatory guidelines.

Days after the truce, the management of Oando Plc announced the appointment of Mr Bukar Aji as a Non-Executive Director.

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