The Federal Government on Monday inaugurated the newly re-constituted Board of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC.

The investiture which was conducted by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Alhaji. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, in Abuja will have Mr. Olufemi Lijadu as Chairman of the Board of the Commission.

Lijadu, who hails from Ogun state, and is a leading commercial lawyer with over thirty years’ experience, was also Executive Director of one of Nigeria’s top four banking institution, United Bank of Africa Plc.

Mahmoud in his opening remark said, “This event signals another milestone in our efforts to emphasize the importance of the capital market in economic growth and development through the mobilization of long-term savings for investment as well as efficient pricing of financial instruments.

“The Nigerian Capital Market, in particular, has provided platforms through which corporate and government sources for capital with which they expand their operations and provide amenities for the citizens.

“The inauguration of the Board of the SEC is critical, as the existence and operation of a board are fundamental for an agency like the SEC to adequately and efficiently perform its regulatory and market development functions.

“It is in recognition of this that the Investments and Securities Act (ISA) 2007, requires that the Commission have a Board and Section 4 of the Act specifically provides that the SEC Board shall be responsible for the general administration of the Commission.”

He further added: “Our capital market is growing and evolving. To sustain this growth and eventually transform to a world-class capital market, transparency and investor confidence is key.

“Investor confidence will accelerate the growth of our market and increase both domestic and foreign investor participation. Therefore, we must ensure that our market is transparent and listed companies imbibe good corporate governance and accountability.

“Like world-class capital markets, ours should be characterized by high levels of liquidity, depth, breadth and sophistication with a strong domestic investor base. It should be innovative, transparent due to robust disclosure regimes, and efficient both in price discovery and in the allocation of capital.

“We must have it in mind that world-class capital markets do far more than provide access to capital. They are enablers of socio-economic development because they hasten the rate of capital formation, foster a meritocracy and promote good corporate governance, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Thus, our capital market should broaden access to economic prosperity by enabling the emergence of financially responsible citizens, accelerating wealth creation and wealth distribution, providing capital to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). and catalyzing housing finance.”

He noted that the inauguration of the SEC Board is timely because it is coming at the time when many players in the market are displaying weak corporate governance practices that could potentially dampen investor confidence and undermine the steady gains we have achieved since the 2008 stock market crash.

“We therefore count on the patriotic service of the new Board members to play their own part as crucial enablers in the industry towards advancing a common vision for the growth and revitalization of our market,” he said.

Mahmoud also emphasized that: “The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to transparency and accountability in corporate governance.

“To this end, I must emphasize that the role of Governing Boards is to provide effective oversight and strategic advisory to the management team. I would therefore like to advise all concerned to study and strictly adhere to the laid down Laws that have clearly defined the roles and responsibilities of the Board Members.

“In keeping with the law, the membership of the Board is carefully drawn from seasoned professionals and eminent personalities that would inspire confidence and trust from other stakeholders they would be working with.

“We trust the capacity of the new Board to deliver on their mandate as we have no doubt that the professional pedigree of members of the Board, their wealth of experience, and robust networks will be brought to facilitate the achievement of desired results.”

The Chairman of the SEC, Mr. Olufemi Lijadu in his remark assured that the Board will work hand-in-hand with all stakeholders to ensure transparency and accountability which is critical to building investors’ confidence and public trust. He also said that the Commission will always follow the rule of law to enforce rules in the Capital Market to ensure orderliness.

The Acting Director General of the SEC, Ms Mary Uduk also said: “The Capital Market will no longer be the same again because we have gotten the Board we have been waiting for for a longtime now.

“From the CV of the Board Members, the market will definitely move forward considering their qualifications and experience.”

Part-time members of the Board are: Mr. Olufemi Dominic Lijadu (Chairman), Mr. Okokon Ekanem Udo (Representative of the Federal Ministry of Finance), Mrs. Angela Adewumi Sere-Ejembi (Representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria), Mrs. Faruk Ladi Rekiya (part time Commissioner), Mr. Lamido Abubakar Yuguda (part time Commissioner).

Full-time members are: Ms. Mary Joseph Uduk – Acting Director-General, Mr Isyaku Bala Tilde – Ag. Executive Commissioner (Operations), Mr. Reginald Karawusa – Ag. Executive Commissioner (Legal and Enforcement), Mr. Henry Adekunle Rowlands – Ag. Executive Commissioner (Corporate Services).

The inauguration of the Board comes with much excitements as market operators and stakeholders in the sector have been calling for the reconstitution of the board to strengthen SEC’s operations.

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