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Confusion as NSE contradicts self on Oando’s technical suspension

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Tinubu, Sanusi and Mangal sealed the deal with a handshake

Less than 24 hours after lifting the six-month old technical suspension it placed on the shares of leading energy company, Oando Plc, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Wednesday contradicted itself by reversing the earlier announcement lifting the suspension.

The NSE had disclosed in a notice, Tuesday, that the decision to lift the technical suspension was based on a request by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The notice signed by Director, Regulation, NSE, Tinuade T. Awe, read: “We refer to all prior communication regarding the technical suspension of trading in the shares of Oando Plc (Oando) implemented on the directive of the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) on 23 October 2017.

“Please be informed that further to a 9 April 2018 directive of the Commission, The Exchange lifted the technical suspension placed on Oando’s shares after the close of trading today, 10 April 2018.

“Consequently, there will be no impediment to price movement in the shares of Oando”

Curiously, less than 24 hours later, the NSE rescinded its decision, stating that the shares of the company listed on both the Nigerian and Johannesburg Exchanges, remained on technical suspension.

For the less than eight hours it traded following the lifting of the technical suspension, shares of Oando gained 10 points on the NSE, trading at ₦6.60 as against N5.99k before the lifting of the suspension.

It will be recalled that the NSE on 18th October 2017 announced that it had placed the shares of Oando Plc, on ‘full suspension for 48 hours.’

Thereafter on 23rd October 2017, the NSE further announced that it had placed the shares of the company on ‘Technical Suspension’. The NSE by a letter dated 18th October 2017 informed management of Oando Plc that the suspension of the company’s shares by the NSE was done in compliance with a directive issued to it by the SEC.

Only on Tuesday, a group of Concerned Shareholders of Oando Plc had called on President Muhammadu Buhari; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President Bukola Saraki; Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and other well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the NSE and SEC to lift the technical suspension placed on the company’s shares.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos, the shareholders said the continued suspension of Oando shares was sending wrong signals to the global community about the seriousness of the Federal Government in attracting foreign direct investments to bolster the economy.

Head of the Concerned Shareholders of Oando, Mr. Patrick Ajudua, while advancing reasons for the immediate lifting of the Technical Suspension, noted that the continued suspension of Oando shares could also send wrong signals about the prevailing harsh operating environment in the country.

He also stressed that the Federal Government must protect a prosperous company like Oando from going down if it wanted to demonstrate to the investing world about its seriousness to attract investors to the country.

According to him: “the continued suspension of Oando Plc is a wrong signal to the global market about the prevailing harsh operating environment in Nigeria, and this is at variance with the Federal Government’s initiatives to diversify the economy through increased Foreign Direct Investment. We appeal to the Federal Government to intervene in our travails because the International investment community is keenly watching.  The value of the investment we as shareholders of Oando have made is being eroded because of this continued suspension of trading. We appeal that this suspension order must be lifted now!”

“We, therefore, call on President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, GCFR; Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, CON; Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, and other well-meaning Nigerians to as a matter of urgency prevail on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and Securities & Exchange Commission to review their position on the technical suspension in light of the fact that the continued suspension of Oando PLC stock price is not in the best interest of the shareholders of the Company and investors in the Capital Market,” Ajudua said.