SEC workers stage another protest; insist Oteh must go

Workers at the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday protested the issuance of query to its leaders for “gross insubordination, disrespect for constituted authority” by the director general of the Commission, Arunma Oteh.

The staff of the commission staged the protest within the premises of the SEC building chanting “Oteh must go!!!” with some of their placards reading “no to sole administrator-ship”, “no to tyranny and highhandedness.”

They gave Ms Oteh two weeks ultimatum to give in to their demands which they said is just for her to do the right thing.

The headquarters of the commission had been besieged by security operatives from Monday, 10th of September 2012 over rumour that the staff of the commission had decided in the congress they held the Friday before that day to stage a protest.

Though no protest was held that day, a letter addressed to Ms Oteh same day by SEC’s branch of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) had advised the “DG to use her good office to address the issues” of her employment of contract staff against the directive of the former Board of the commission.

A report on the periodic check of SEC from the office of Auditor General of the Federation indicated that the rules for engagement of contract staff were not adhered to in the commission’s engagement of 15 contract staff.

The document dated 20th April 2012, “recommended that appointments of these fifteen (15) purportedly engaged staff be reverted as the engagements were not done in accordance with the Public Service Rules.”

In the letter, the union also sought to know the reason for the deployment of security operatives to the headquarters of the commission.

“It is on record that the Board extract of 56 Board meeting directed that if by 31st July, 2012 the contract staff of the commission was not regularized, their appointment should be terminated. This directive has not been complied with, rather a counter directive was given by the DG to the finance and account department to pay up their remuneration up to August 2012 without any directive suppressing the earlier directive of the board,” the letter with the heading “issues of urgent attention” read in part.

The letter signed by Muhammad Salihu, chairman of SEC branch of AUPCTRE and John Briggs, Secretary General of SEC branch of AUPCTRE read in part: “Mr Omotayo who is one of the unregularized staff who once served as a technical adviser to the DG was redeployed to head the Internal Control Department. This in our opinion creates a moral issue as Mr Omotayo by virtue of his former position would not constitute a sufficient check to executive or administrative excesses. His redeployment should therefore be checked.”

Two days later, 12th September 2012 precisely, the DG responded by issuing query to the chairman of the union, Muhammd Salihu and his Secretary John Briggs, according to the unionists.

A copy of the query issued to Muhammad Salihu said his participation in the union’s letter “is tantamount to unbridled insubordination to the constituted authority within the commission.”

The Internal memo signed by the Head of Department, Human Resources in the commission, Husseini Dauda, added that “the correspondence is riddled with discourteous language and contains outright lies, threats and falsification which are unbecoming of staff of the SEC.

“It has also come to the management’s attention that you invited and interacted with media practitioners, encouraging them to report false information that could undermine the commission and sabotage the capital markets and Nigerian economy.”

The memo then asked the union leaders to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against them within 48 hours.

SEC staff protest as Jonathan recalls Oteh

The Federal government recalled former Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh following the compulsory leave she was sent on by the board of the commission, a presidential spokesman said on Wednesday.
Arunma Oteh

The SEC Board sent Ms Oteh on compulsory leave in order to enable external auditors examine the records of the commission’s transactions covering project 50 which she supervised.

Briefing State House correspondents on Ms Oteh recall the Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati said that the Federal government have studied the report by the auditors and noted that Ms Oteh was not indicted for fraud nor criminal breach in any form.

Mr Abati said that the government however cautioned Ms Oteh to henceforth endeavour to diligently observe all extant rules and administrative procedures in the conduct of all official transactions.

SEC staff protest

Following the announcement that Ms Oteh has been recalled to her office as DG of SEC, staff of the commission staged a protest at the entrance of SEC headquarters in Abuja to prevent the recalled DG from entering the building.

Defying a downpour, staff of the commission protested against the planned resumption of Ms Oteh from her compulsory leave. Some of them said they had information that the embattled DG plans to resume today.

Though Ms Oteh is yet to show up at the office, heavily armed police officers are in SEC premises to forestall a breakdown of law and order.

Drama at National Economic management meeting as Oteh takes DG SEC’s seat

A mild drama ensued on Tuesday at the Presidential villa as the recently suspended Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh attempted to attend the Economic Management Meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Ms Oteh was a member of the economic management team by virtue of her former position as the DG SEC.

However, with her suspension, it is expected that she would cease to be a member and give way to the acting DG, Ibrahim Bello, to take over her membership.

Ms Oteh made a dramatic appearance at the venue of the meeting at about 1.30pm on Tuesday.

She was still settling down on the seat reserved for DG SEC when a female protocol official approached her and engaged her in a discussion.

Immediately after the short discussion, Ms Oteh, holding tenaciously to her two handbags, and the protocol official left the council chambers. They both headed towards the president’s office.

Five minutes later, the female official returned without the former SEC DG. But no sooner had the official returned than Ms Oteh re-appeared at the venue.

She placed her handbags beside her seat and walked to the other side of the hall to hold consultation with the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

After the consultation, Ms Oteh left the venue with her two bags and again headed towards the president’s office.

She again returned to the venue a few minutes after and took her seat.

Shortly after her final return, President Goodluck Jonathan arrived the venue and the meeting commenced.