By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
The Chairman of Etisalat Nigeria Limited, Hakeem Bello-Osagie, has resigned his position with immediate effect.
A statement obtained at the weekend confirmed the development, saying the decision followed “the approval of a restructuring plan for the telecommunications firm.”
Mr. Bello-Osagie, the one-time Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), was the surviving shareholder in the embattled mobile operator currently embroiled in a $1.2 billion (about N377.4 billion) loan repayment crisis with a consortium of 13 local lenders.
He was the promoter of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services (EMTS) which controlled 15 per cent of the equity holding of the company
His resignation followed the withdrawal, two weeks ago, of the company’s major shareholder, Emirates Telecommunications Group Company, which announced the decision to quit effective June 15, 2017.
Earlier, six directors of the telco had resigned from the seven-man board in an attempt to absolve themselves of any criminal liabilities should the loan repayment impasse be escalated to the courts.
According to sources, six Mubadala and Etisalat Group-appointed Non-executive Directors (NeDs), from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), had resigned, following Emirates Telecoms Group Company’s (Etisalat Group) reporting disclosure on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange that it was transferring 45 per cent of its stake and 25 per cent of its preference shares in its Nigerian subsidiary to United Capital Trustees Limited, the legal representative of the lending banks.