The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, on Thursday, reportedly held 344 female students and staff of Providence High School, Independence layout, Enugu hostage at the school premises.
It was gathered that AMCON personnel led by Barr, Nick Omeye, stormed the girls’ boarding school with a team of over 40 armed policemen and left shortly afterwards. Then, later returned around 5.30pm in a Gestapo style and allegedly sealed up the school gates with students and staff inside.
Some men of the Nigerian police were said to have blocked all entrances to the school.
According to eyewitness reports, the property had been used as collateral for bank loan.
Vanguard quote and eyewitness as saying that he overheard Barr Omeye repeatedly saying, while locking up the school, that AMCON had come to claim the property over loan default.
The informant, who said that he had followed the case for a while added that he had learnt that the original owner of the premises, late Ferdinand Anaghara, had donated the property to the proprietor of the school under special arrangement, but that he had an unsettled business with a bank before he died.
Mrs Elizabeth Onwuagha, the school proprietor, told Vanguard in an interview that she was not aware of any pending loan case between late Chief Anaghara and AMCON or any bank whatsoever when she acquired the property in 1997, with just two uncompleted buildings within.
She said; “The original owner gave us this facility as a favour. He gave me all the photocopy documents of the property and said he would give us original documents at a later date.
“As at that time, there were two uncompleted buildings and he donated it to us on the condition that we will complete them and use the place specifically for education. Since we took over this place, we have constructed four more buildings and expanded this place which was bushy when we came in.
“When we went for the original documents he, “Chief Anaghara”, told me that he would give it to upon his return from medical trip abroad. That was in 2007. But unfortunately, he never returned alive.
“We never heard from him or anybody that he was owing any bank until 2016, 19 years after he had given us the property and nine years after his death that AMCON came.
“They told us that they would not seal the premises because it is a school but that we should find money and clear Ferdinand’s debts.
“I told them that I do not have money and that the school had no money; that schools are social services.
“We later wrote a letter to AMCON stating our side of the issue; the letter was submitted on August 1, 2016, but they never replied us till today. All of a sudden, AMCON invaded the school with heavily armed policemen, when the students were still in class and ordered everyone to vacate; that they had come to take possession of the property.”
Efforts by journalists to to reach the AMCON team leader proved abortive as the were denied access by the security men.