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Discos vow to battle FG over takeover, restructuring

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The receiver/manager’s nominee of Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Company on Wednesday said it was the legal and beneficial owner of 60 per cent (controlling and managing) shareholding interests in the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company.

Also, the management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc said on Wednesday that there was no legal basis for the takeover of the company following the purported activation of the call on its collateralised shares by Fidelity Bank.

Both firms disclosed this in reactions to the announcement of the Federal Government on Tuesday regarding the takeover of Kano, Benin and Kaduna electricity distribution companies by Fidelity Bank Plc after the bank initiated action to take over the boards of the three Discos.

The government had also announced through its Bureau of Public Enterprises that with the takeover of Ibadan Disco by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, the BPE had obtained approval from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to appoint an interim managing director for the distressed power firm.

The government further stated in a notice that it was restructuring the management and board of Port Harcourt Disco to forestall the imminent insolvency of the utility. The notice was signed by the Director-General, BPE, Alex Okoh; and Executive Chairman, NERC, Sanusi Garba.

But in its reaction on Wednesday to the takeover and restructuring announcement by the government, Ibadan Disco, though its receiver/manager’s nominee, urged the public to ignore the two Federal Government agencies – NERC and BPE, on the purported takeover control and management of IBEDC.

It said the purported takeover was announced “in spite of a subsisting order of a court in Suit No. FHC/L/AMC/92/2021, granted on September 8, 2021 and varied on December 3, 2021.”

It made the claims in a statement through its counsel, Kunle Ogunba, SAN.

The receiver/manager’s nominee said in the statement signed by Ogunba that IBEDC was unlawfully included in the announcement, adding that the government’s publication was “ill-conceived”.

The statement read in part, “The appointment of a receiver/manager; Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria and its Nominee; ‘Kunle Ogunba, SAN have been duly registered at the archives of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja.

“The esteemed members of the public are hereby enjoined to ignore the publication as the BPE and NERC both in their individual and collective capacities have no power(s) under any subsisting enactment to take the steps ‘they’ have taken as indeed there is no legislation tagged ‘business continuity framework’ anywhere codified in the Nigerian laws.

Also kicking against the announcement of the government, the management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc said in a statement that there was a basis for the takeover of BEDC, as it assured customers and stakeholders of continuing operations.

It insisted that there was no legal basis for the takeover of the company following the purported activation of the call on its collateralised shares by Fidelity Bank.

The management of the firm, however, added, “There is no contractual, statutory or regulatory basis for such. For the avoidance of doubt, the shares of BEDC have not been given as security to Fidelity Bank or to any other party.

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