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House of Reps must stop vendetta on Arunma Oteh

By Tony Navah Okonmah

In March 2012, I wrote in an article in the Vanguard “Allegation against Arunma Oteh wrong” that efforts were made in my commentary not to compromise the task facing the ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives investigating the matter between Herman Hembe, Arunma Oteh and the collapse of the Capital Market.

The reason was to allow the House the opportunity to conduct an unbiased and uninfluenced investigation with the hope of reaching a balanced and informed decision. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the report from the House of Representatives.

It is a shame and most embarrassing that the House of Representatives would collectively exhibit clear vindiction against the DG SEC, Arunma Oteh in a high class matter that also attracts the interest of the international community.

The report of the House of Representatives could not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and could find nothing of inappropriate behaviour or case of fraud against the DG SEC. These were the key notes of their investigation and they failed to prove them.

Instead, the House of Representatives has come out to tell Nigerians that Arunma Oteh should be dismissed because she did not meet the 15 years experience required for her appointment into the position of the DG, Security Exchange Commission of Nigeria (SEC). Was this what they were asked to investigate or is it in any way connected directly or remotely to the crash of the capital market and the alleged case of fraud against the DG?

The reason for the recommendation by the House to dismiss Arunma Oteh as DG SEC, was it what they were asked to do? It is sad that the House of Representatives either for lack of understanding of their scope of inquiry or a deliberate conscious exercise on a jamboree to spend tax payers’ money on an issue they were very clear of their position from start.

I commend the report of the independent auditors (Price Water House/Coopers) for their courage to conduct a clear and unbiased investigation and for exonerating Arunma Oteh of any inappropriate behaviour or fraud. I also commend the Presidency for the boldness to make the right decision by re-instating the DG. The House of Representatives and other detractors should please allow Arunma Oteh to concentrate on the task of cleaning up the mess she inherited at SEC and restore the market to acceptable standard.

Now that this matter has been conclusively decided fairly by the presidency, Arunma Oteh must focus on the job and not allow herself to be distracted. She must restore both local and foreign investors’ and traders’ confidence in the Nigerian capital market. She must extend “olive leaves” to both her supporters and detractors alike. She must swiftly conduct the healing processes vital for unity and team work. Arunma Oteh must not indulge in vendetta. I congratulate her for this victory. But it is victory for justice and truth.

*Tony Okonmah, a financial and economic analyst wrote from London.


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