By Innocent Anaba
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has challenged the suit by some shareholders of African Petroleum Plc, before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, over the election of Alhaji Aliko Dangote as the President of the Exchange.
Counsel to NSE, Chief Charles Edosomwan (SAN), in the preliminary objection to the suit, is contending that the said shareholders lack the locus standi to bring the action, as they are not members of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, more so that NSE is a private limited company and matters of control and election, re-election and removal of its officers were its exclusive internal affairs.
He is further contending that the shareholders have not shown any identifiable legal interest they have in who occupies what position in the National Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Meanwhile, the trial judge in the matter, Justice Mohammed Limah, yesterday, adjourned till September 29, as she insisted on first hearing the fresh application by AP shareholders, in which they are praying the court to nullify the election of Dangote as NSE president.
Counsel to Dangote had prayed the court to first hear the preliminary objection he filed challenging the suit, contending that once an issue of jurisdiction had been raised, the court must first decide on it before taking any further step on the matter.
Consequently, Justice Limah, adjourned till September 29, for hearing in the said application for the nullification of Dangote’s election.
It will be recalled that the court had on August 4, 2009, while adjourning further hearing in the suit, ordered parties to maintain status-quo.
The AP Plc shareholders, had sued Mr Femi Otedola, AP chairman and some other shareholders of the company (AP Plc) for failing to take enough action against Nova Finance and Securities Ltd in respect of the alleged manipulation of the companyâ€™s share and had also sought to restrain the Exchange from continuing to retain or permit Alhaji Aliko Dangote to continue to remain/occupy the office of the 1sâ€™ Vice President (then) and member of the Council of the NSE and deal with him (Dangote) in such or any like capacity.