The employees of three commercial banks -Enterprise, Mainstreet and Keystone -sold by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, are fretting over reports that the banks’ assets are being transferred to new operators.
The employees’ apprehension stems from the fear that they may be pushed back into the labour market under new managements.
To secure their future, the affected employees have filed an application before a Federal High Court in Lagos seeking an order voiding the sale of the banks, or their proposed transfer to new operators.
In the application No. FHC/L/CS/1552/14, copy of which was made available to PREMIUM TIMES, a legal counsel to the employees, Fred Agbaje, faulted AMCON’s proposal to sell the banks, noting that its decision without taking the interest of his clients into consideration amounted to a breach of their rights before the law.
Mr. Agbaje said AMCON ought to have carried the employees along throughout the bidding process. He pointed out that, in view of their terms and conditions of employment, they were major shareholders who were entitled to a maximum of 10 per cent share of the banks’ total assets.
Two representatives from each of the banks – Ogunremi Francis and Aneke Emmanuel of Mainstreet; Abimbola Alabi and Aderonke Aworemi of Keystone; and Victor Nwankwo and Isokpan Efe-Martins of Enterprise – signed the legal papers for themselves and on behalf of their other colleagues.
The Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, joined the application as the seventh plaintiff.
AMCON, the management of the three banks, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as well as the Security and Exchange Commission, SEC, were joined in the suit as the first to sixth defendants respectively.
A representative of Mainstreet Bank employees, Mr. Ogunremi, who deposed to a 35-paragraph affidavit in support of their originating summons, said the suit was necessary in view of the recent acquisition and sales of the three banks “in defiance of the CBN guidelines and other relevant laws governing commercialisation and privatisation matters and public procurement in Nigeria”.