Uche Usim, Abuja
As tongues wag over the appointment of a foreigner, Mr. Roger Brown as CEO-Designate of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, to replace the current head, Mr. Austin Avuru, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr. Simbi Wabote, has said that the company has not broken any law by so doing.
He said this at the ongoing 9th Practical Nigerian Content Conference hosted by the NCDMB in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Whilst clarifying the Board’s position on the appointment, Wabote, while addressing participants said: “If you read the Act itself, it creates a five per cent (5%) position for investors. The investment in Seplat is not coming fully from Nigeria; the company is publicly listed in the London and Nigerian stock exchanges. So, the company is bringing in external funds and most of these fund contributors would want to have some level of representation in such establishment.
“There is no breaking of law by Seplat; but I think the point that was being made was that Seplat has always been a poster child and you expect that they will continue to grow in terms of local content attainment. But of course, Seplat has a business reason to do the appointment, and the company has not broken any law.”
The Company had, last week in an announcement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, refuted an allegation in a section of the media that the appointment of Mr. Brown negates the provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2010 (the Nigerian Content Development Act).
As stated in the announcement dated 18th November 2019, Seplat had informed the public of the appointment of Mr. Brown as the successor to Mr. Avuru as CEO, when Mr. Avuru steps down on 31 July 2020.
The company stated: “Seplat is a law-abiding corporate citizen that maintains the highest level of corporate governance standards. Mr. Roger Brown has been with the Company for six (6) years and has since his joining, served in the capacity of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Company. All the activities of Seplat as a corporate citizen are in fulfilment of all applicable laws and we hereby state categorically that the decision to appoint Mr. Roger Brown as the next CEO of SEPLAT is in full compliance with the Nigerian Content Development Act and is not in breach of any applicable law in Nigeria.
“We therefore expressly refute all allegations in the Publication, and hereby call on The Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Public to disregard the Publication in its entirety.”