….says they acted out of ignorance
By Haruna Salami
Few hours after a group under the aegis of Lawyers for Reform, threatened to drag President Muhammadu Buhari to court if Stella Erhuvwuoghene Okotete is not removed as Executive Director of Nigerian Export – Import Bank (NEXIM), the embattled bank director has fired back .
The group had in a protest tagged “#Remove Stellaokotetenow” , staged in the early hours of Thursday at the main entrance of the National Assembly , said the NEXIM ED , is not qualified by every standard to hold the position .
Barrister Oladotun Hassan Esq, who led the protest , alleged that appointment of Stella Okotete as Executive Director of NEXIM by President Muhammadu Buhari in April 2017 was wrong headed going by clearly stipulated requirements in the extant laws governing the Bank.
According to him , Okotete did not have the required 18 years post graduation working experience before her appointment and even not having relevant academic qualification in financial accounting , banking or any business related courses .
” What can only be gotten from fraudulently concocted curriculum vitae of Okotete is that she is a former Counsellor and Beauty Salon Hairdresser .
” This is an arrant disgrace and monumental embarrassment to Government of President Muhammadu Buhari that prides itself as Anti – Corruption Crusader .
” In the face of the law , specifically going by the Central Bank of Nigeria Act Regulations and Order 41(3) of the Senate Rule and by reason of her lack of capacity not to have served in the banking service for 18 years , Okotete is not fit and merit to continue to hold the Executive Director of NEXIM Bank , we therefore call on President Muhammadu Buhari to act decisively accordingly.
” We also request that Okotete should upon removal from office , be prosecuted for misleading the entire Nigerians with false misrepresentations used in securing the appointment .
” If nothing meaningful is not urgently done in respect to our demands on or before 7th December , 2022, ; we shall not hesitate to seek legal sanction against President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government of Nigeria “, he said .
But in a swift reaction by the Bank, the protesters were alleged to have acted out of ignorance .
The Bank in statement dated 1st December , 2022, said provision of section 8(3) of NEXIM Act which provides for a Managing Director , two Executive Directors and two non – executive directors , does not lay out qualification for executive directors , one of which is being occupied by Stella Okotete .
” No provision in NEXIM Act lays out qualifications for appointment of Executive Directors or any Director of the Bank .
” Okotete in collaboration with other Directors of the Bank , has within the last five years , brought growth in profitability and drastic reduction of non – performing loans “, the statement stressed .
It added that President Buhari did not violate any extant laws or in house banking procedures, on the appointments of Okotete and others .