A mild drama occurred on Tuesday at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh, showed up at the Economic Management Team meeting.
It was expected that Oteh, who was a member of the EMT by virtue of her former position as the SEC boss, would cease to attend the meetings following her suspension, while her replacement, Ibrahim Bello, take over the membership. Oteh had made a dramatic appearance at the venue of the meeting which kicked off at about 1.30pm.
While trying to settle down on the seat reserved for the SEC boss, a female protocol official approached her and engaged her in a discussion. Immediately after the short discussion, Oteh, clinging to her two handbags, followed the protocol official out of the Council Chambers.
They both headed towards the President’s Office and about five minutes later, the female official returned without Oteh. She however returned to the venue shortly after the protocol officer returned. She placed her handbags beside her seat and walked to the other side of the hall to hold a consultation with the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. After the consultation, Oteh left the venue with her two bags and again headed towards the Presidental Office. She again returned to the venue a few minutes after and took her seat.
Shortly after her final return, President Goodluck Jonathan arrived the venue and the meeting commenced. However, while speaking to journalists after the meeting, Okonjo-Iweala said Oteh was still eligible to attend the meeting as she was only on leave and investigations where still on, adding that contrary to public opinion she was not suspended. According to her, the leave is to allow for a fair and openness of the investigation take place but it doesn’t stop her from participating in one or two meetings affecting the economy. "I think we should allow the report of the investigation to be concluded and it will be out soon," she said. "She has not been indicted and so it does not stop her from attending meetings".