Operators applaud judgment on suspended SEC’s boss reinstatement

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Malam Mounir Gwarzo, former Director-General of Nigeria's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Some capital market operators on Saturday applauded the industrial court judgment on the reinstatement of Malam Mounir Gwarzo as the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The operators, who spoke with news reporters in Lagos, South-West Nigeria, while reacting to the judgment, urged the Federal Government to obey the court order.

The National Industrial Court, Abuja, on May 30 ordered the immediate reinstatement of Mounir Gwarzo, the suspended SEC boss.

Justice Sanusi Kado, in his judgment, held that the then Minister of Finance, named as the second defendant in the suit, lacked the power to suspend the claimant.

Kado, who dismissed three issues raised by defence counsel through their preliminary objection, ruled that the suit was not status barred.

He held that since there was a cause of action in the claimant’s suit, he (the claimant) had the right to commence the suit by way of originating summon.

Kado said the issue in dispute was not about the position of the claimant as the Director-General of the Commission; the bone of contention was who had the power to suspend him.

The judge held that the second defendant (the then Minister of Finance) did not have the power to suspend the claimant since he was not an employee of the commission.

Meanwhile, Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd, (a stock trading and consulting company) believes that the judiciary is the last hope for the citizens, and says that the court ruled in Gwarzo’s favour because the allegations were false.

He said that his reinstatement would not affect the market because he was not in acting capacity when he was suspended and had spent substantial time of his tenure:

“There is no problem by reinstating him, if only the government will accept the ruling and do the needful by appointing board to check the excess of the Director-General.

“Government should also take decision that will further deepen the investment and financial market and as well strengthen investors’ confidence.”

Mr Boniface Okezie, National Co-ordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, said that shareholders were in support of the court’s ruling:

“If a competent court ruled that Gwarzo should be reinstated, government should obey the court order and those who are to implement should notify him to resume.”

He noted that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had been working without a Board for four years now.

According to him, the commission needs a substantive Director-General as the current leadership was all in acting capacities:

“So, Gwarzo should go back to his desk to direct the affairs of the commission without further delay.

“This back and front will not help SEC as currently being witnessed and Government must see the need to reorganize that commission to move the capital market forward.”

Mr Moses Igbrude, Publicity Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, described the order as a welcome development:

“It is a good news and happiness to any human being especially in a case like this where he was falsely accused just to shame and remove him from office.

“This has shown that no matter your position in life, one should be sincere and always try his or best to do the right things and as well stand for the truth.

“I appeal to the Federal Government to obey the court ruling without further delay.”

He called on Gwarzo to learn from the whole thing and forgive those behind his travails, especially now he had been vindicated.

Malam Shehu Mikail, National President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, said that the rule of law should prevail.

Mikali said that Gwarzo’s suspension was as a result of Oando Plc forensic saga.

He urged the government to comply with the industrial court’s ruling.

Mikali said that both local and international investors were watching the next line of action.

Amaka E. Nliam