Enugu: Over three hundred students of Providence High School, Independence layout, Enugu were on Thursday afternoon locked up inside their school premises as officials of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) took possession of the institution on order of the court.
The students currently writing their school certificate examinations had retired to their hostels after school hours when officials of the Corporation arrived the premises with heavily armed policemen to enforce the court order said to have been obtained since 2016.
It was gathered that the school facility situate at No. 1b Nawfia close, Independence layout, Enugu, was used to obtain some loans by the original owner.
The management of the school acquired the property from one Ferdinald Anaghara in 1997 and had been paying rent since then. Anaghara was said to have died several years ago.
It was further gathered that when they acquired the property which then housed only two buildings, they were not told that there was a loan which was tied to it as collateral.They only got wind of the development in 2016 when AMCON officials had come to execute an interlucotory court order empowering it to take possession of the school facility.Several interventions were made then that prevented the execution of the order.
Thursday afternoon however, officials of the Corporation returned to the school premises with over 30 policemen to execute the same order. An attempt by officials of the school to stop them led to the brutalization of some teachers by the security officials who allegedly attempted to shoot sporadically but were prevailed by the school staff.. Some phones were smashed by the security officials who also padlocked the entire premises with students and their teachers trapped inside the compound.
On the walls and entrances of the school were boldly written”AMCON has taken over this property based on court order”
As at the time of filing this report Thursday evening, the school entrances were still under lock and key with the staff and students inside the compound.
Proprietor of the school, Chief Mrs Elizabeth Onwuagha, has however raised an alarm over the safety and security of her over 300 students who are still taking their school certificate exams.
She said that her greatest fear was that the “over 30 heavily armed security men who stormed the premises could turn out to be kidnappers”, stressing that she would not want a repeat of what happened in Katsina state.
She said she was not aware that the original owner of the property who died in 2007 used it to obtain a loan.
” The original owner gave us photocopies of the documents of this place. As at that time, there were two uncompleted buildings and he gave it to us on the condition that we will complete them and use this place specifically for education. We have been paying rent. Since we took over this place, we have built six more buildings and expanded this place which was a bush when we occupied it.
“My greatest headache is that some of the students came from outside Enugu state and their parents are not here”, she said.
She appealed to the Enugu state government to intervene and ensure safety and security of the students, stressing that the school had produced notable personalities including former Miss Nigeria.