How Alleged Maltreatment Of Nigerian Workers By Suspended Seplat CEO Cost Shareholders N73bn Loss

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Seplat Energy Plc has lost N73.5bn of its market value in the hit of the racism scandal linked to its suspended Chief Executive Officer, Roger Brown.

Analysis on the company’s performance between March 2 to March 10, 2022, shows that the company’s market capitalization has dipped from N779bn which it was on March 2, 2023, to N706.1bn as of Friday, March 10.

During the review period, Seplat shares fell from N1,325 to N1,200, hence losing N125 or 9.4 per cent of its value in eight days.

This is the worst performance of the indigenous oil and gas firm since January 31, 2023, when its shares fell to N1,230.8.

The Company’s portfolio comprises seven oil and gas blocks in the Niger Delta region, including Petroleum Prospecting Licence (PPL) 4, 38 and 41, PPL 283, OPL 53, PPL 55, PPL 40 and Ubima.

Seplat’s sudden dip is linked to Brown’s battle with shareholders who petitioned him to Nigeria’s Ministry of Interior citing racism and maltreatment of Nigerian workers.

According to Seplat, Brown “organised a site visit for a number of its major shareholders to the Company’s operations, canceled some catering and landscaping contracts, and introduced a new job performance rating.”

Seplat board however cast a vote of confidence on the CEO and absolved him of any wrongdoing.

But the Nigerian authorities revoked the embattled CEO’s Visa and work permit after he was found to have contravened extant laws.

The company however, moved him to the UK office and insisted that Brown will remain Seplat CEO and exercise his duties from London.

But to compound Brown’s case, an ex-parte order was granted by Justice C. J. Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lagos, restraining him from participating in the running of the Company for a period of seven days.

The injunction was filed by Messrs. Moses Igbrude, Sarat Kudaisi, Kenneth Nnabike, Ajani Abidoye and Robert Ibekwe, who were said to have shares in Seplat Energy Plc.

Brown however, appointed Seplat’s Chief Operating Officer, Samson Ezugworie, to act as CEO pending when the matter is resolved.

The board had said the “allegations are a spurious and vindictive reaction to the Board’s enforcement of corporate governance standards and a determination to continue to uphold their fiduciary duties and loyalty to the Company. The Board of Seplat Energy has unanimously passed a vote of confidence in Mr Brown as the CEO.”

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