07 July 2015, Lagos – The Chairman, Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Dr. Ambrose Orjiako has come out to say that shareholders who bought shares in naira or foreign currency would be paid dividend as such., except otherwise which is applicable to exchange rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as at the time the register of the company closes. Shareholders in this interview argue that the company is paying the current dividend in naira while the initial dividend paid in dollar is still pending.
Alhaji Gbadebo Olatokunbo, Shareholders’ Activist: A shareholder called me yesterday (Sunday) and told me he has received his current dividend from Seplat written in naira, but that is the latest dividend, the one in contention, the interim dividend, have not been paid.
I have not received mine, except they have just sent it to my postal address at Onipanu because I now reside at Ikorodu, anytime I go to Onipanu I will check if they have send it or not. There is nothing the MD can say, if I bought shares at the stock exchange in naira and I reside in Nigeria and the currency in Nigeria is naira, there is no law that says I should collect my money in any other currency unless it has been thus stated that I should collect in that currency, but there wasn’t any policy of such when I bought my shares through the stock exchange, so that is our argument.
We are waiting to see what will happen to the previous one’s that has not been paid. I am waiting to see what will happen and from there I will pick the registrar up to explain to me what is happening. It was because of the pressure we put on that t hey paid the current dividend in naira. But they are yet to sort the previous interim dividend.
If they are applying exchange rate it would be as at the date of the payment of the dividend, if they use the current exchange rate they are cheating and surcharging people.
They are being encouraged by some Nigerians who wants to hold dollars and they are individuals but is Seplat that accepted to do the wrong thing. If Seplat cannot pay other countries in naira, why pay us in dollar, people do things because nobody challenges them, they take laws into their hands.
There are certain things you don’t need to be told, these things they are doing, if they try it abroad, they will be sanctioned immediately by the regulatory authority. But because our regulatory authority refuse to speak out that is why this whole thing dragged this long. If SEC have called them to order to reverse what they have done, we would not be dragging issues.
Mr. Taiwo Oderinde, Chairman Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria: At the last AGM, they made it clear that any shareholder that bought their shares in naira would be be paid in the local currency (naira). The company is dual listed, so those people who bought in dollars, even some Nigerians also bought in foreign currency. So those who bought in naira will receive their dividend in naira and those who bought in foreign currency will receive their dividend in foreign currency, that is the conclusion. The problem we sometimes have with our regulators is compliance and enforcement, but the way I have seen the company Seplat is that they are true to their words and I have seen some of their Directors to be law abiding from the various places they have served before, so I think they will do the best according to what they have promised, some of us that received our dividend received it in our local currency.
*Providence Obuh – Vanguard