Some shareholders, on Monday, protested at the headquarters of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings in Lagos over an attempt to prevent the financial institution from holding its Annual General Meeting as scheduled
The minority shareholders who gathered in front of the headquarters, held placards and demanded that the institution be allowed to carry out its statutory duty of holding AGMs.
There has been a tussle over stakes of FBN Holdings following the acquisition of majority interest by a company related to billionaire businessman, Oba Otudeko.
Speaking on behalf of the protesting shareholders, the Chairman, Trusted Shareholders’ Association, Mukhtar Mukhtar, expressed displeasure at the attempt to stop the AGM from holding.
He said, “We are here at the First Bank office to register our displeasure, our discontentment and rejection of the attempt by some shareholders to prevent the Annual General Meeting of First Bank from holding and preventing the consideration of some very important resolutions for the progress of the bank.
“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.”
FBN Holdings in a notice issued in July had said that it intended to raise fresh capital through a rights issue, pending the approval of shareholders at the Annual General Meeting scheduled for this month. The lender said it intended to raise funds via the creation of 8.974 billion ordinary shares at 50 kobo each.
Mukhtar also called for the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Securities and Exchange Commission and Nigerian Stock Exchange in the ongoing tussle for the lender.
He said, “The regulators, the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Stock Exchange, and Securities and Exchange Commission should wade into this problem. They know that AGMs are statutory.
“We know that the management of First Bank wants the AGM to hold and for all the resolutions to be considered but they have been prevented from holding the AGM by some shareholders. First Bank of Nigeria has a systemic and important place in the economy of Nigeria. It is a bank that must be allowed to grow. It doesn’t make sense for the regulators to be silent in this case.
“We will continue to protest and write petitions. How can regulators just keep quiet while a few persons hold a bank of First Bank status to ransom? The regulators cannot continue their complacent behaviour in the face of this situation. They must exert some regulatory powers. We cannot afford to let First Bank die, therefore the regulatory authorities must act.”
In its AGM notice, FBN Holdings had also announced that it would be presenting two newly-appointed directors for shareholders’ approval.
The directors include billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, who was appointed Director on July 9, 2023, and the Executive Director, Finance, Investment, Management and Oversight, Samson Ariyibi, who was appointed on October 21, 2022.