Cellulant Crisis Deepens as Cofounder Resigns


*Over 35 Staff Sacked

Cellulant co-founder Mr. Bolaji Akinboro has resigned and Information reaching THISDAY is that the company is plagued by unhealthy corporate governance practices by the board of directors and the group compliance unit allegedly led by one Mr Solomon Abiakalam.

This unhealthy practices has also led to a mass exit and unethical terminations of more than 30 staff of Cellulant.

The now ex CEO is a visionary leader and a pioneer of some of the biggest agricultural, payments and work creation initiatives to come out of Nigeria. It therefore came as a shock to industry stakeholders when the news of his sudden resignation as CEO hit the news. Just last year, Cellulant held the biggest agricultural event in the history of Nigeria.

Aside the cofounder, over 35 staff members of the company were recently sacked and others resigned in an unhealthy manner which bring uncertainties to the future of Cellulant and which only recently attracted the biggest fintech investment in Africa.

Precisely three weeks ago after the resignation of the CEO, it was gathered that Cellulant issued official communication to its partners intimating them that one of its flagship platform, “Agrikore marketplace” which supports millions of farmers across Nigeria and guarantees supply of raw commodities the Agric value chain participants would be shut down.

This development therefore raises concerns because the Agrikore platform supports large manufacturers and protects food security which is one of the biggest national dangers in the recent time.

History has shown that what precedes a crisis of this nature is either a liquidity crunch or a capital deficiency or board room politics.

Cellulant Nigeria struggled with the all criteria mentioned and as a Payment Platform Infrastructure Service Provider (PPISP ) regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and insured by Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). Therefore, there is urgent need for CBN and other regulatory agencies to extend support to Cellualnt Limited stemmed from the need to prevent a financial system failure.

The Nigeria Agric value chain and other platforms that Cellulant support and as well its Investors chief amongst them are The Rise fund – TPG, velocity capital and a host of very large investment funds are at both capital and reputation risk

Cellulant was founded in 2004 with Co- CEO Ken Njoroge from Kenya and in 2018, received the largest investment in the history of fintech companies in Africa with dominant market position across 12 Sub-Saharan countries – Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Malawi. An enviable $47m. One would think that they would be gearing towards an IPO at the moment.