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Group seeks apology from AMCON for locking up female students in Enugu

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Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

The Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), yesterday, asked the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to apologise for locking up over 340 female students of the Providence High School, Enugu.

It stated that subjecting the students to psychological torture and unlawful detention amounted to gross violation of the constitutional rights under the Child Rights Act.

The group insisted that AMCON must tender a public apology for invading the school after school hours and locking up the premises under the guise of enforcing a court order.

Officials of AMCON and over 30 armed policemen had stormed the school about 5.30p.m. on Thursday, January 21, 2021, locked up the students and some officials of the school under the guise of enforcing a 2016 court order against owner of the property.

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The policemen, who blocked all entrance to the school, had reportedly told people who witnessed the incident that owner of the property, the late Chief Ferdinand Anaghara, used it as a collateral for a bank loan.

Anaghara, who died in 2007, had before his death, leased the premises, which then had two uncompleted buildings to the school owner, Mrs. Elizabeth Onwuagha, on the understanding that she would complete the buildings and use it for educational purposes. The deal was consummated in 1996 when the school commenced.

In a petition to the Minister of Finance signed by its President, Olu Omotayo, CRRAN argued that AMCON’s invasion of the school was a violation of the children’s rights and an affront on the rule of law.

“Even if the original owner of the property owed a bank before his death, the fact that the property now housed a secondary school which provides education for 344 students meant that it is no longer a private affair between AMCON and the original owner, but now a matter of public interest.

“The education and liberty of 344 Nigerian children are at stake. Section 3(2) of the Childs’ Right Act 2003, provides that in addition to the rights guaranteed under Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution or under any successive constitutional provisions, every child has the rights set out in this part of the Act,” the letter reads.

Onwuagha, however, denied knowledge of any pending loan between the late Anaghara and AMCON or any bank when she acquired the property in 1996.

She pointed out that in 2016, about nine years after Anaghara’s death and 20 years after she acquired the property, AMCON showed up with some persons saying they wanted to execute an interlocutory court order, which empowered it to take possession of the school facilities.

She said several interventions were made at the time and the corporation was later prevented from executing the order, adding that the corporation did not respond to letters she wrote to its management.

While lamenting the safety of the students, Onwuagha said the policemen manhandled one of her male teachers for asking why they invaded the school with guns.

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AMCONCRRANOlu Omotayo
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