The Federal High Court in Lagos has issued an interim order restraining FBN Holdings Plc from proceeding with its scheduled Annual General Meeting (AGM) set for Tuesday, August 15, 2023. The order was granted pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice filed by three aggrieved shareholders of First Bank. The decision was rendered by Justice Nicholas Oweibo after considering an ex parte application brought before the court by legal representatives of the aggrieved shareholders.
The three petitioners, Olojede Adewole Solomon, Adebayo Oluwafemi Abayomi, and Ogundiran Emmanuel Adejare, were represented in court by Senior Advocates of Nigeria Muiz Banire and Kunle Adegoke, along with Seun Onabowu. Justice Oweibo’s ruling, delivered on August 9th, bars FBN Holdings Plc and its staff from conducting the AGM until the matters in contention are resolved. Further hearings on the case are scheduled for Wednesday, August 16.
The aggrieved shareholders’ legal representatives, in a letter dated August 14, 2023, communicated the court’s interim order to FBN Holdings. Additionally, a notice of consequences of disobedience of a court order, known as Form 48, has been filed against the company.
Addressed to the Group Managing Director of FBN Holdings, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, Form 48 serves as a warning, stating: “Take Notice that unless you obey the directions contained in this order attached, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”
The interim order, as detailed in the court documents, reads: “An Order of Interim Injunction restraining the Respondent (FBN Holdings Plc), whether directly by itself, or indirectly through its directors, managers, officers, employees, servants, consultants, attorneys, agents, representatives, privies, however so-called, persons acting under its instructions and control, from holding, or taking any step to hold, or proceeding with the proposed Annual General Meeting of the Respondent scheduled to hold on the 15th day of August 2023 by virtual means, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice already pending before this Honourable Court.”
The court’s intervention emphasizes the importance of upholding corporate governance standards and providing avenues for shareholders’ concerns to be addressed within the legal framework. The case highlights the significance of transparent and fair proceedings in the corporate sector and underscores the court’s role in ensuring accountability and adherence to legal protocols.