Minority Shareholders of Oando Plc on Wednesday decried the cancellation of the company’s 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the eve of the programme.
Mr Hamza Ridhwa, who is also the Secretary-General, Association for Investors Liberation, spoke on behalf of the shareholders at a news conference in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the commission had on June 10 suspended till further notice, Oando’s AGM scheduled to hold on June 11.
The suspension followed an order by a Federal High Court in Lagos due to an application made by the Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc, Mr Adewale Tinubu and his deputy, who were suspended by SEC on May 31.
Ridhwa said that the way and manner the meeting was cancelled was disappointing and disheartening.
“We condemn in absolute terms the way and manner chosen by SEC in announcing the cancellation on the eve of the event, despite having ample time to do the same.
“We have shareholders who have come in from all over the country; it is disappointing and disheartening to think that SEC did not think it worthy to consider us,” he said.
Ridhwa said that SEC should explain to the shareholders, how the last minute suspension of the AGM was in their own interest.
“SEC is a regulator that is here to protect the market, and in particular, we the minority shareholders.
“They have a duty to care for us first. Their actions in the Oando case has neither protected us, nor shown a duty of care,” he said.
Ridhwa said that shareholders were disappointed at SEC current management of the investigation into Oando Plc.
“The actions, over the last two years and specifically the last 10 days, has shown that our voices as minority shareholders are not being listened to,” he said.
Ridhwa said that the development had caused an erosion of value in the company’s shares since SEC’s May 31 Press statement from N4.20 on May 31 to N3.75 per share on June 11.
He urged the Federal Government and the Presidency to intervene in the matter, noting that it was not acceptable for SEC to attempt to take down the company.
According to him, the company adds so much value to the Nigerian economy, an employer of labour and also attracts significant Foreign Direct Investment into the country.
The shareholder activist said that the commission should be called to order to act in a manner that was legal in the interests of the capital market and shareholders.
In a statement in Lagos on June 10, SEC said that it directed the suspension to allow parties involved in the suit to maintain status quo.
The commission said that it would update relevant stakeholders and the general public on the outcome of the litigation.
SEC had on June 2, following the outcome of its forensic audit on Oando, constituted an interim management team to be headed by Muntiu Sunmonu for the oil company.
It said that Sunmonu would oversee the affairs of the company and conduct an extra ordinary general meeting on or before July 1, to appoint a new board of directors.