UPDATE: Etisalat Nigeria to restructure management, board as Chairman Hakeem Bello-Osagie resigns

An Etisalat Office
An Etisalat Office

The embattled mobile telephone operator, Etisalat Nigeria Limited, said on Friday it would move swiftly to set a new management and appoint a new board, in the wake of the resignation of its incumbent Chairman, Hakeem Bello-Osagie.

A statement obtained by PREMIUM TIMES said Mr. Bello-Osagie’s decided to quit on Friday following “the approval of a restructuring plan for the telecommunications firm.”

“Although the Chairman had planned to leave immediately the banks made the take-over move, he opted to tarry until a road map for the company was finalised.

The timing of the resignation was strategically delayed till now when stakeholders have agreed a plan,” the statement said.

“The development reflects Mr. Bello-Osagie’s deep commitment to protecting the interest of all stakeholders. It is now expected that Etisalat Nigeria under its new shareholding structure will navigate through its current loan repayment challenge with minimum impact.

“Over the last several months, the Chairman has worked extensively with critical stakeholders to prepare clearly articulated strategies and robust road maps that will mitigate the impact of the new shareholding restructuring and realignment on the operations and management of the 4th largest telecoms player in Nigeria,” the statement said.

The former Chairman of the United Bank for Africa, UBA, was the only surviving shareholder in the embattled mobile operator currently embroiled in a $1.2 billion (about N377.4 billion) loan repayment crisis with a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks.

He was the promoter of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, EMTS, which controlled 15 per cent of the equity holding of the company.

His resignation followed the withdrawal, two weeks ago, of the company’s major shareholder, Emirates Telecommunications Group Company, after its affiliate, Mubadala Development Company, had indicated its intention to withdraw from the company.

Last week, the United Arab Emirates, UAE, company, in a filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in Abu Dhabi requested EMTS Holding BV to transfer all of its 85 per cent shareholdings in Etisalat Nigeria to United Capital Trustees Limited, the legal trustees of the banks, latest June 23, 2017.

Since then, Etisalat Nigeria had been logged in series of negotiations involving the consortium of banks, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to restructure the remains of the telephone operator’s management.

In 2013, Etisalat had obtained the syndicated loan from a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks, including Access Bank, Zenith Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, First Bank Limited, Fidelity Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Ecobank, United Bank for Africa Plc and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.

The loan, which involved a foreign-backed guaranteed bond, was to help the mobile firm finance a major network rehabilitation, upgrade and expansion of its operational base in Nigeria.

However, its alleged failure to meet agreed debt servicing obligations with the banks since 2016 triggered a major crisis, culminating in the recent withdrawal of its majority shareholder and resignation of Mr. Bello-Osagie


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  • CoroprateWatch

    DEAR EDITOR,

    Hakeem Bello-Osagie is not a hapless victim

    No, no, no! Whenever you wish to write an editorialized newsreport the inference must be taut. To say the Chairman
    of a private company owing a whopping $1.2 billion unpaid to commercial banks in Nigeria and practically refusing
    to pay it – by not submitting a repayment plan – is taking a ‘responsible action in deep commitment to protecting
    the interest of all stakeholders
    by resigning after the creditor banks obtained a seizure order on the bank assets,
    is the wrong inference. Otherwise what does irresponsibility mean?

    To owe $1.2billion to banks and demand write-off; as if a debt were a right of a debtor, is a textbook definition
    of ‘irresponsibility’. The whole of business ethics forbids what Hakeem Omo-Osagie’s Etisalat board did in this
    particular episode. Common sense forbids it too. Premium Times shouldn’t be a staging ground for just
    beatifying irresponsible corporate conduct. For in sensible countries all the Directors of Etisalat
    will be arrested for criminally incurring from commercial debts with no intent to pay as if in
    a plot of economic sabotage. Hakeem Bello-Osagie isn’t just a hapless victim here, no;
    but a dramatis persona who’s legally answerable for this fraudulent loan scheme.

  • ????????questo

    Premium Times Editor,

    AFTER THE BANKS SEIZED ETISALAT’s
    ASSETS FOR $1.2b unpaid debts, WHAT ELSE IS left OF HAKEEM BELLO-OSAGIE’s
    corporate sense or responsibility inside ETISALAT than to pack his things as a failure,
    and go to face THE LAW OF CONSEQUENCES?

    • No Komment

      Nigeria is no longer a country. It’s not a country where people can live to survive.

      Nigeria is a place ruled by criminals and thieves – as well as by several others

      who believe in plundering and looting.”

      ……MBAZULIKE AMAECHI

      (Nigeria’s First Minister of Aviation)

      [September 14th, 2014]

  • Marthin

    Just give us a Secession Referendum. Nigeria is a fraud. Let us try break up, it will be best for all. There is no harm in trial. You do not force people to remain in a country where the system will never give the best the chance to lead but the sickly, uneducated, inexperienced and dunce.

    Give us Niger Delta Republic. Give us Biafra.

  • OGK

    UBA was an accident, Etisalat a happenstance. Two down, more remaining; which is the next victim? In a saner clime, this man would have incurred name like Hakeem ‘Stripper’ Bello-Osagie. He finished UBA and now Etisalat. We waited with batted eyes for the next corporate victim. At the end of the day, it is the Nigerian masses who would bear the brunt. This corporate strippers took huge taxpayers money from the CBN through banks, pocketed the bulk of the money and at the end of the day make you and I to write off the debt through CBN, they move on and hunt for the next big one. …Only in Nigeria could such happen