Protecting Nigerian Investors

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This paper critiques the slow pace and use of legal rigmaroles in frustrating enforcement investors’ protection laws in Nigeria, compared with the American legal system, using AJAYI v SEC as reference. It concludes that (a) Nigerian courts should employ their power to sanction lawyers and litigants more proactively; (b) specialised courts’ powers, such as the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) must be enhanced to handle specific subject-matters in Nigeria; and (c) the rights of appeal to appellate courts may be curtailed/restricted to matters involving meritorious issues. This will facilitate quick and expeditious resolution of disputes between litigants.  

It is disheartening that, after eleven years, issues raised in AJAYI v SEC are nowhere near resolution while the impugned corporate officers and auditors (Osindero, Oni & Lasebikan) parade the Nigerian capital market, whereas the 2001 Enron Scandal, in the United States, had been put to rest with Enron’s executives and Arthur Andersen becoming historical relics.  

The Enron Scandal
The October 2001 Enron scandal, led to the bankruptcy of Enron, and dissolution of Arthur Andersen, the world’s largest audit and accountancy partnership. Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling and other executives used accounting loopholes, special purpose entities, and poor financial reporting, to hide billions in debt from failed deals and projects. Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow and others misled Enron’s board of directors and audit committee of high-risk accounting issues and pressured Andersen to ignore the issues. Enron’s stock price hit US$90 per share in mid-2000, later caused shareholders to lose nearly $11 billion by plummeting to less than $1 by December 2001. U.S. SEC’s investigations indicted Enron executives. On May 25, 2006, Lay and Skilling were convicted, amongst others, of securities and wire fraud. Earlier, on May 6, 2002, a charge of obstructing an official proceeding of the SEC was filed against Enron’s...
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