(L-R) Sander Munsterman, CEO and co-founder, XS2theworld London and Yinka Akande, director, brand communications, Etisalat Nigeria; at the XS2theworld mobile solution presentation in Lagos.
SHAREHOLDERS of the seven banks rescued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have warned investors warming up to buy the affected banks to stay off. They said the banks are not for sale, vowing to employ every means to recover their banks from the CBN. BusinessWorld Intelligence can reveal that a number of shareholder groups will be putting out notices in the newspapers before long to warn any investors that may be eyeing Union Bank, Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank, Afribank, FinBank, Bank PHB, and Spring Bank which were bailed out in August and October last year.
A top shareholder rights activist told BusinessWorld that shareholders are fully mobilized and ready to issue a caveat emptor for the benefit of would-be investors of the rescued banks. According to him, the move is to warn would-be investors of the booby traps and dangers inherent in acquiring the affected banks as they are not ready to fold their hands and watch hard-earned investments slip through their fingers.
Sunny Nwosu, National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (Isan) said shareholders in all the affected banks would team up and fight to recover their banks. He told BusinessWorld that the immediate matter at hand is for shareholders to fight back. “All discerning shareholders will team up and fight to recover and recapitalize the banks taken over by the CBN”, he said.
He argued that the right approach for the CBN would have been to invite the shareholders and ask them to recapitalize their banks instead of forceful takeover and making attempts to sell them off to other investors. The takeover, he said, did not follow due process and therefore cannot stand in the long run. The court victory of Bernard Longe, former managing director of First Bank of Nigeria Plc, he said, should serve as a warning and learning field for regulators and power drunk leaders who jettison due process in carrying out their functions.
Fred Ojeh, president, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) said that the sacked managing directors and shareholders should take a cue from Longe and seek redress in the law courts. He said the development is an eye opener to the CBN that as a regulator, it is subject to the nation’s laws adding that the sacking of the managing directors of the eight rescued banks did not follow due process.
He therefore challenged the sacked eight managing directors to seek redress in the law courts before the eight banks are recapitalized. He tasked shareholders to be fully involved in the recapitalization of the banks and not leave it to the dictates of the CBN.