Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on Sunday denied allegations that it detained about 344 female students of Providence High School, located on Independence Layout in Enugu, Enugu State.
The spokesperson of the corporation, Jude Nwauzor clarified in a statement sent to MEDIATRACNET that the agency was in the area to discharge its official responsibility of enforcing the recovery of an N7.6billion debt from the school.
Describing as “unsubstantiated”, Mr Nwauzor said reports that accused the agency of detaining the students were not only totally mischievous but also half-truths that disregarded the real issues about the debt enforcement exercise at the school.
“AMCON does not shut down schools, because the management of AMCON understands the strategic importance of that sector to the country.
“This is not the first time AMCON is having to enforce on a school. Some years back a certain high-profile school in Lekki area of Lagos State was also enforced on, AMCON did not shut down the school or detain the students until the issues were amicably settled.
“The same enforcement approach was deployed at the school in Enugu by going there to place AMCON’s possessory sign board on the wall of the school and on the gate.
“It is therefore difficult to understand how writing on the fence of the school, which is outside the school premises and placing a small AMCON sign amounted to disrupting school activities and detaining the students,” Mr Nwauzor said.
Before writing its recovery notice on the school’s fence and placing the AMCON sign outside the school’s premises, Mr Nwauzor said AMCON officials on the assignment contacted the school’s authority on their mission.
He said throughout the period of their meeting with the school’s authority, none of the students, some of whom were in their hostels and their various classes, were unaware of their enforcement exercise.
“Please AMCON did not storm the Enugu school with over 50 mobile policemen to detain students and their teachers. AMCON also did not prevent school activities from continuing as claimed by some reports. The reports are nothing but fake news,” the AMCON spokesperson said.
“The gate of the school is still open, and activities are ongoing. It is a boarding school with students from across the country. How can anyone eject them? It’s all lies told to curry public sympathy and to delay the repayment of a huge debt of over an N7.6billion, which is the main issue,” he added.
AMCON accused the management of the school of sensationalizing the debt recovery exercise by raising a false alarm to discredit the agency and its officials.
Background to the debt
“As far as AMCON and records are concerned, the property where the school is located belongs to Ferdinand Property Investment Limited. The company several years back took loan from UBA Plc and gave Corporate Guarantee in respect of the $2.9million AFDB (African Development Bank) loan granted to Ferdinand Oil Mills Limited in 1989.
“All the loans remained unliquidated resulting in AMCON acquiring the loan. The order and the originating processes were served on the school on July 16, 2016, but the school pleaded to be given time to enable them to arrange how to settle AMCON,” Mr Nwauzor said.