Placard carrying protesting shareholders and staff of African Petroleum Plc (AP) staged a peaceful demonstration in the premises of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Corporate Headquarters, Abuja over alleged maladministration leveled against the oil company’s Executive Chairman, Chief Femi Otedola.
Some of the placard inscriptions read: “Otedola stop milking AP”, “You are killing AP”, “Let AP survive”, “SEC come to our rescue”, among others.
The protesters were in support of a petition written by the company’s former Executive Director, Finance & IT, Mr M.S.C Aviomoh against his chairman, Mr Femi Otedola. The Economic Confidential gathered that the Commission is investigating Otedola on other similar petitions with respect to the AP share offer.
Armed with placards of various inscriptions, the protesters said they were in SEC to register their grievances on prevailing mismanagement of the AP, which they maintained could no longer be tolerated.
The leader of the protesters and AP staff, Mr. Jegede Haruna said “We are protesting on behalf of the AP. It is enough for him (Otedola). He has been eating for the past two years and this should be stopped.
But the SEC Head of media, Mr. Lanre Oloyi assured them that the Commission was already looking into their grievances contained in a petition earlier forwarded to the regulatory body. He said that the Director-General of SEC, Ms Arumah Oteh who as at the time of the protest was said to have gone out on official duty, had on receiving the petition constituted an investigation Committee to examine every issue raised.
Oloyi said as a responsible regulatory agency, the Commission would not spare any resources but would ensure that at the end of the investigation, whoever is culpable would be given appropriate sanction. He added that the Commission was on top of the situation to ensure that investors and shareholders’ interests were protected.
While responding to media inquiries on the protest, Oloyi said: “The issue in question is that we received the petition and the Commission has actually set up a committee to look into these allegations. We are still working on it. The market that we regulate is rule based and the Securities and Exchange Commission will not settle for anything less than to ensure that the rules of the market are complied with.
“We are going to spare no resources to ensure that we get to the root of the matter and the outcome of this investigative committee would be made known to the public. So that is the issue, the matter is under investigation and we can assure you that SEC as a Commission is on top of the situation.
“The Commission is a responsible regulatory organization and we will not spare any resources but to ensure that the issue brought up were critically examined and verified.
“We have a team that is actually working on it and will ensure that whoever violates the rules of the Commission, there are appropriate sanctions and we will ensure that we right the wrongs.”
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