In a petition addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the head of the European Union in Nigeria, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Stella Erhuvwuoghene Okotete, Executive Director (Business Development) at the Nigeria Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank, has been criticized for her “lack of experience” and alleged corruption (SGF). The Lawyer for Reform Group served as the petition’s sponsor (LRG).
Aare Oladotun Hassan, the group’s executive director, Juryman Associates Chambers’ principal partner, and the secretary of the Epe branch of the Nigeria Bar Association all signed copies of the appeal dated November 30, 2022, which were provided to journalists.
Others copied in the petition include the UK High Commissioner , US Embassy, IGP, NBA President, Attorney General of the Federation and the Managing Director of the NEXIM Bank.
It would be recalled that Okotete was in April 2022 re-appointed by President Buhari for another term of five (5) years despite issues regarding her qualification for the post.
It was reported that she did not have the 18 years of post-graduation experience required to occupy such high office as specified by the Central Bank of Nigeria circular of 15th October 2015
“A minimum of first degree or its equivalent in any discipline plus a higher degree or professional qualification in any business-related discipline. Candidates must also have a minimum of 18 years post-graduation experience, out of which at least 13 must be in the banking industry and at least 2 as General Manager,” the CBN document read.
In the petition captioned “ Save Our Soul/Appeal for and Urgent Action”, the lawyers noted that Okotete does not have any experience in the banking industry as required by the law.
They also accused her of “serial criminal activities bordering on excessive and reckless abuse of office, deceitful misrepresentation of her qualifications to earn the post of the Executive Director of the NEXIM Bank.”
The group also called on President Buhari to ensure that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and 9th Senate leadership of Senator Ahmed Lawan investigate a 2019 unimplemented Senate Report of a 13-member committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on the matter.
The petition reads: “ It was well investigated and resolved Petition submitted in 2018 by Myson Law Practice represented by Mr Myson Nejo, Esq. on behalf of the Ilaje Global Think Thank Initiative AGAINST Stella Erhuvwuoghene Okotete nomination and appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari on 20th April, 2017 demanding her immediate REMOVAL AND PROSECUTION based on her fraudulent misrepresentation in gross violation of the CBN’s statutory laws.
“On this premise, we anticipate your good office’s independent, swift and fair investigation, while hoping on your authorized reversal of all discharged transactions, and further accord the investigating team to act decisively through the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, particularly EFCC and office of the Inspector General of Police to recover all fraudulent payments earned as Executive Director of the NEXIM BANK; during the entire years and period of her appointment till date, as well as harmonize their investigation accordingly.
“Our humble appeal is done in due recognition of your responsive call to duty. Our petition is predicated on the fact that consequent upon Stella Erhuvwuoghene Okotete’s long years of unchecked nefarious activities and continuous massive corruption currently perpetrated at the NEXIM BANK; hence our economy has suffered greatly as a result of her lack of capacity, technical know-how, financial accounting and administrative management knowledge in the handling and management of the day to day running of the apex financial institution regulating Nigeria’s Exports and Imports Businesses, inevitably leading to untold hardship, monumental embarrassment and aggravated economic loss.
“We write your good office for onward implementation, investigation and compliance with the statutory legislative resolution of the House of Senate dated April 2019 (Attached herewith), this is done in accordance with the operational laws and 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) respectively.
“Stella Erhuvwuoghene Okotete’s gross misconduct, ineptitude, massive corruption and embezzlement is most inhuman, wicked, most corrupt, highly demeaning and unlawful to say the least.
“We further reiterate, if nothing urgent is done to rescue the situation, the culprit is ready to wreak further monumental havoc; what a double jeopardy.
“Our request is that we appeal to your good office should please direct an independent team of law enforcement agents to investigate our complaint and HARMONIZE all the facts and evidence for proper investigation, in order to avoid injustice and ensure possible conclusion on the criminal aspect of the case, so that the erring suspects would be charged to court in due time soon.”
“We hereby reiterate for the umpteenth time that our demand for Stella Erhuvwuoghene Okotete’s removal and replacement as Executive Director of the NEXIM Bank is in the interest of fairness, equity and justice.
The lawyers futher threatened to sue the Federal Government if it fails to address their demands, adding that : “ We further reiterate that if nothing meaningful and urgent is done in compliance with our fundamental demands on or before 7th of December, 2022(Seven Days Ultimatum) we shall not hesitate to seek legal sanction Against President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government of Nigeria forthwith.
Established in 1991, NEXIM Bank is an export credit agency of the Federal Government, which focuses on the development and expansion of the non-oil sectors of the Nigerian economy, with a view to reducing the country’s over-reliance on oil exports as part of its mandate.