It’s hard to find a ₦1,000 note lying by the road because someone else would have picked it up.
But larger sums than this are left lying in Nigerian accounts, unclaimed by forgetful, unaware, or deceased investors. FBN Holdings, for example, had a list of unclaimed dividends with 271,000 names last year.
Ironically, the law empowers FBN, and the over 160 companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), to perform what passers-by do with the ₦1,000 note: they can claim them.
Section 382 (2) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) allows issuing companies to retain unclaimed dividends and make beneficial investments with the funds after a period.
Another rule from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), enforces this CAMA directive.
The commission empowers registrars (firms that keep records for other companies) to hold on to dividends not claimed for 15 months. After this time, they are