Minority shareholders have accused the former Chairman of First Bank Nigeria Holdings, Chief Oba Otudeko, of being behind the Court order barring FBN Holdings Plc from holding its statutory Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled for August 15, 2023.
A Federal High Court in Lagos had issued an ex parte order restraining FBN Holdings from holding its AGM pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter filed before the Court by three aggrieved shareholders of the bank.
Last Monday, the Chairman of the Trusted Shareholders Association of Nigeria (TSAN), Alhaji Mukhtar Mukhtar, led a group of minority shareholders to stage a protest in front of First Bank Headquarters, demanding that the institution be allowed to carry out its statutory duty of holding AGMs.
“These shareholders have approached the court to stop First Bank from raising capital like other banks are doing and then not to admit some directors onto the board of the bank. Those who have gone to court to stop the AGM know that it is illegal. AGMs are statutory meetings,” Alhaji Mukhtar told journalists during the protest.
According to Alhaji Mukhtar, the minority shareholders are the ones greatly affected by the suspension of the AGM as they depend on dividend pay-out to meet their needs, advising Oba Otudeko not to bite the fingers that fed him.
Speaking to journalists, he said, “With what is going on now, I mean by the court order stopping the AGM, it is the minority shareholders that will suffer.
They are the ones who depend on dividend pay-out to pay rent and plan other things. Many are retired and eagerly look forward to the bank’s AGM. It is the earning from their investments.
But now the court is saying you cannot hold the AGM, which approves the dividend payment. What will happen to those shareholders? So, Otudeko should be considerate on this?”
First Bank is a bank that has systemic value in the Nigerian economy and should not play with it at all, he added.
Therefore, he called on regulators to intervene and make it clear that no Court can stop the statutory meeting of companies and the passage of resolutions in such meetings.
In her reaction, Mrs. Bisi Bakare of the Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), said: “The court order is not a good move for us as investors/shareholders.
My advice is: whoever is behind it or those that are planning should stop it because First Bank is more important than any individual. If anything happens to First Bank, the entire Nigeria will be affected.”
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