In Enugu: AMCON denies ordering closure of girls’ school

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has denied ordering the closure of Providence High School, Enugu, blaming overzealous persons for locking up the gates and allegedly assaulting a male staff of the boarding school.

AMCON’s Head of Corporate Communications, Jude Nwauzor, who spoke with journalists in Enugu, said the corporation would never make enforcement in schools, religious organisations and hospitals based on their peculiar nature, stressing: “Taking possession means showing presence and placing notices of the assets in writing.”

Criticisms had trailed reports of locking the gates of the boarding school with 344 female students by officials of the corporation who were on enforcement over alleged loan of N7.6b obtained with the school’s facilities by the original owner and others some years ago.

However, six days after the premises were locked, AMCON had reopened the gates following public outcry. Nwauzor said the enforcement was based on a court order, but was not meant to close the school, harass or detain anybody.

“The story of the school was unfortunate, because AMCON never ever enforces on schools, we don’t close schools. This is not our first experience with a school, we had a school at Lekki in Lagos that is about three times the size of this school that we took over some years ago and we never closed its gates.

“We normally use Court Bailiffs to do a possession order sign on the wall, put a board on the gate and leave the school to run, because we understand the implication and reality of what the education system represents for Nigeria. AMCON also does not enforce in religious settings and hospitals and I think it is important for the media to know this,” he stated.

He disclosed that AMCON’s management and the school authority had been engaging and that when people make agreements and fail, only the courts could resolve such issues, adding that the court granted AMCON the order and the commission enforced it.

“And of course, on that first day, the Bailiff had to obey the court order because the Bailiff cannot go back to the court to tell the judge that the order he granted was not enforced. But because we understand the sensitivity of the sector, the gates were opened.

“My Managing Director is a family man, who also has children in schools. He can’t possibly approve of closing a school with hundreds of students. So, he never said anybody should shut down the school or detain the 344 students. As such, the report was not true because the students did not know about the enforcement,” he added.

He stated that AMCON’s intention was not to lock the school, but to show signs of possession and walk away, stressing: “AMCON does not work in court and its staff did not go to Enugu to execute the order, but the court bailiffs.” Theguardianng

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