By Ibraheem Hamza Muhammad:
The new Board of the National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria better known as NICON Insurance formally took over the reins of power with its maiden Board Meeting at the Corporation’s head office in Abuja amidst tight security.
Addressing a handful of NICON’s management staff, led by the Deputy General Manager (DGM), Corporate Advocacy, Mr.Kunle Adewale, the interim Board Chairman, Alhaji Lamis S. Dikko who led other Board members called for cooperation with the Board to reposition the insurance company which he described as a national legacy.
This was contained in a statement by the spokesperson on the Bureau, Amina Tukur Othman that the meeting was a prelude to last meeting of the Board where far-reaching decisions, including the immediate termination of the appointments of the erstwhile Managing Director and Executive Directors of the insurance company were taken.
Dikko said the mandate of the new Board is to preserve NICON Insurance as a going concern until a new investor comes aboard as the previous owner had woefully failed to sustain and maintain the organisation.
He said all staff that were desirous to stay back and work for the good of the organisation had nothing to fear but to support the new board to turn around the fortunes of the company.
Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex A. Okoh, also a board member, lamented the decay at the place and said it was one of the few bad cases of privatisation in the country.
He regretted that the enterprise which was a going concern before privatisation was grossly mismanaged and appealed to the management and staff to collaborate and cooperate with the Board on its rescue mission to bring NICON insurance to operational vibrancy and on a pedestal to divest again.
Also speaking, the interim Managing Director, Mr. John Abuh Oyidiih charged the workers to cooperate with the Board and management to reclaim the lost glory of the insurance company “which is an institution and can’t be allowed to go down”, adding that “you do not need to hold an allegiance to any individual but the institution”.
It would be recalled that the Board members had arrived the company’s premises as early as 7:30am but could not gain access to the Board Room as it was under lock while the only functional elevator in the building was shut down. It was not until some of the Management workers sauntered in as from 8:00am that the elevator was eventually switched on and the Board Room opened and cleaned up for the Meeting.
NICON Insurance was privatised in 2005 with the core investor having 70% shares with the Federal Government retaining 30 percent.
The Federal Government shares were later diluted but the fortunes of the company continued to decline with most of the assets used as collateral to collect loans from banks. This prompted the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to take over affairs of the company, a decision the core investor went to court to challenge. The court ruled in favour of AMCON but the investor went on an appeal which the court asked the parties to maintain the status quo leading to Monday’s take over by the new Board.