Unlawful Removal: Ex-NSE Boss, Okereke-Onyuike Again Floors SEC At Appeal Court

Ndidi Okereke-OnyuikeThe Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) challenging a lower court’s ruling, which nullified the removal of Ndidi Okereke-Onyiuke as Director-General of the Nigeria Stock Exchange.
Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos, had in his judgment, described the removal of Mrs. Okereke-Onyiuke as “reckless, hasty and done in bad faith”.
The High Court also awarded N500 million as exemplary and aggravated damages against SEC for the reckless manner in which the former D-G’s right to fair hearing was violated.
Dissatisfied, SEC had filed an appeal and urged the appellate court to set aside the judgment.
In its notice of appeal, SEC maintained that Mrs. Okereke-Onyiuke’s sack was in exercise of its statutory powers to protect the interest of investing public and the Nigerian economy as a whole.
At the appeal on Friday, Mrs. Okereke-Onyiuke’s lawyer, Michael Akintayo, urged the court to take cognisance of a notice of discontinuance filed by the appellant.
Mr. Akintayo submitted that once a notice of discontinuance had been filed the proper order was to dismiss the appeal.
Counsel to SEC, however, urged the appellate court to ignore the notice of discontinuance, adding that it was filed in error.
But, in a short ruling, the panel of justices presided by Justice U.I Ndukwe-Anyanwu, noted that SEC had earlier filed notice of discontinuance of the appeal and that the appeal could not be resuscitated.
Justice Ndukwe-Anyanwu held that there was no appeal before the court since the notice of discontinuance had entered the record of the court.
“You cannot build something on nothing, the appeal had ceased to exist before the court the moment notice of discontinuance was filed”, the court held.
The appeal was accordingly dismissed.
Mrs. Okereke-Onyiuke, had in the suit, challenged the propriety of her removal by SEC as director-general and sought to restrain the commission and its agents from treating and relating to her “as a removed director-general of the NSE”.
(NAN)

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