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Oteh resumes, meets directors

By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
ABUJA — Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms. Arunmah Oteh, returned to her office, in Abuja, Monday, without any form of resistance, as earlier threatened by some staff of the nation’s capital market regulator.

But Vanguard learnt that the man who acted for her, Mr Ibrahim Bello has gone on retirement.

SEC, Ms. Arunmah Oteh and Mr Bolaji Bello

It was learnt that Oteh, who was last week re-called from an indefinite suspension slammed on her by the board of the commission over alleged financial recklessness, got to her office early in the morning and held a meeting with directors of the organisation.

Details of the meeting were not officially made public but it was learnt that she urged the management and staff of SEC to work with her to restore investor’s confidence in the nation’s battered capital market.

Oteh’s re-call ended several month of intrigues over the control of  the regulatory agency between her and several forces within SEC and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Those sympathetic to her course said she did not do anything wrong as they claimed that external auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, which examined the books of the commission after her suspension by the board did not find her guilty of any financial malpractice.

Others claimed her closeness to some powerful interests in Aso Rock Villa was the real reason for her return to her seat.

Members of staff who spoke with journalists decried the alleged one-man show style of Oteh’s administration as well as her alleged high-handedness.

Oteh had not arrived SEC headquarters when Vanguard visited the premises but the staff insisted that they were prepared to prevent her from entering her office, no matter the decision of the Federal Government.

Secretary-General, Staff Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service and Recreation Employees, Adekoya John, who eventually spoke to journalists urged the Federal Government to ensure it followed due process even if it chose to reinstate Oteh.

The Acting DG Ibrahim Bolaji had to convey an impromptu meeting to arrest the situation from degenerating into a violent protest as he was said to have appealed to the workers to exercise restraint.

Armed policemen and other plain-cloth security agents flooded the vicinity of the SEC headquarters to ensure that miscreants did not take advantage of the staff protest.

Members of the House of Representatives also criticized the decision of the Presidency to recall Oteh whom they claimed was indicted in their Capital Market probe report.

Ms. Oteh had accused the Herman Hembe-led House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the crisis in the capital market of  demanding illegal funds from her.  That allegation led to the removal of Mr. Hembe who is now facing trial over the allegations.


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