For about two years, we were peeved that she had not been sacked. But, the removal, though belated, of the Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Prof. Ndi Okereke-Onyuike, is a welcome development that will console Nigerians who lost billions of their savings when the stock market crashed in 2008 due to Okerekeâ€™s inefficiency to deal with a legion of unethical practices at the stock market when she was in charge.
Okereke was sacked yesterday. She was removed over theÂ alleged financial mismanagement and other allegations relating to inadequate oversight of the exchange.The NSE president, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, was also suspended from acting as president.
The Assistant Director/Head Media, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lanre Oloyi, in a statement issued on Wednesday, noted that the sack of Professor Okereke-Onyiuke, was necessary to protect investors in the market.
He said the Investment and Securities Act 2007 vested the unalloyed responsibility for safeguarding the interest of the public and protecting the investors on the SEC.
According to him, the commission had closely followed the developments in the NSE, particularly with respect to inadequate oversight of the exchange, ongoing litigation, allegations of financial mismanagement, governance challenges, and the inordinate delays in the implementation of its succession plan.
â€œIn following the developments, the commission has, at all times, carefully deliberated on the implications and ramifications of a direct intervention in the affairs of the exchange,â€ he noted.
Oloyi promised that the commission would announce the interim arrangements before the market opens today. Given the gravity of the allegations concerningfinancial mismanagement of the exchange, he saidÂ the commission had also directed the conduct of an independent investigation into the allegations.
When Okereke was NSE DG, Nigerians were made to believe that the stock market was viable even when it was not. Stocks just kept going up without limit. In reality, the stocks had no value and as the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, put it last year, it was a big deception.
The stock market crashed in 2008 and by 2009, billions of naira had been lost with the banking sector being the worst hit. Thousands of Nigerians also lost their jobs due to the crash. But Okereke remained in charge of the NSE two years after. That was not right.
Now that she has been sacked, we believe that someone with integrity should replace her immediately to insil high ethical standards in the stock market to restore investorsâ€™confidence.
Okereke should be prosecuted and jailed if found guilty. Those who are given positions of responsibility must account for their stewardship.