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Oba Otudeko

Drama as Otudeko asks FirstBank to disregard Ecobank’s requests

Wole Olanipekun & Co, the legal representatives of Dr Oba Otudeko, has asked FBN Holdings to disregard a petition by Ecobank’s lawyers, demanding for a rejection of 4.7 billion shares purchased by the entrepreneur.

The law firm, in a letter issued on Wednesday, dismissed claims by Ecobank that there was a Supreme Court judgment backing its stance that Otudeko was owing it N13.5bn.

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According to the letter, no order of the court had “awarded same or any judgment sum (as debt owed) at all in favour of Ecobank as a liability from our clients or any of the Honeywell companies.”

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The legal entity, on behalf of Oba Otudeko, urged FBN Holdings to ignore and decline all the requests contained in Ecobank’s letter.

It read in part, “The sum of N13.51bn (thirteen billion, five hundred and seven million, fifty-two thousand, four hundred and seventeen naira, ninety-nine kobo) stated in Ecobank’s letter is/was not contained in the Supreme Court decision or any extant court decision in Nigeria or elsewhere.”

The letter noted that the responsibilities of a CEO of a financial institution were limited to statutory duties and did not extend to intervening in transactions between third parties on the Nigerian Exchange.

It added, “As you are aware, the duties of the chief executive officer of a financial institution are statutory and they do not extend to the various actions Ecobank’s letter requested you to perform, including but not limited to intervention in transactions between third parties on the Nigerian Exchange.”

The lawyers also argued that Ecobank’s requests for disclosures of the details of the acquisition of the shares were inconsistent with established confidentiality obligations.

It urged FBN Holdings to reject the request by Ecobank for a full disclosure of the details of the deal, as there was no express court order mandating such disclosures.

Meanwhile, amid the controversy that had enmeshed Nigeria’s oldest bank, FBN Holdings shares dropped by 10 per cent on Wednesday.

According to figures published on the website of the Nigerian Exchange Limited, FBN Holdings shared dropped from N21.50 to N19.35, shedding N2.15 or 10 per cent.

Vice Chairman of Highcap Securities Ltd, David Adonri, had said the drop in the bank’s share price was not unconnected with the controversy surrounding the dramatic comeback staged by the bank’s former chairman.

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