A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to immediately unseal a private school, Queensland Academy Limited in Okota, Lagos, which was sealed for indebtedness.
The court presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba gave the directive following a complaint made by the lawyer to the school, Debo Adeleke, that AMCON acted in flagrant violation to court order.
Justice Buba had on May 23 granted an exparte application brought before it by AMCON against Mr. Maxwell Okudor, Mrs. Lillian Okudor, Kemmep Nigeria Limited and Queensland Academy for their failure to pay the sum of N60 million owned Bank PHB, which has been taken over by AMCON.
Following the granting of the exparte application, AMCON officials had on May 30 allegedly invaded the school with armed policemen and seal it up.
Displeased with the AMCONâ€™s action, lawyer to the school, Adeleke, told the court that the corporation had acted contrary to the courtâ€™s order.
Adeleke told the court that the school was not pledged as security for the facility taken by the first to third respondents from BankPHB, and that as at the time the order was being sought and granted, the school was already and presently conducting NECO, IJMB, and other examinations for its students, and that there was misrepresentation of facts by AMCON.
The lawyer also averred in its motion on notice to vary the order of the court that there is a pledged, donated charge/security on the loan facility located at Plot 626 Eket Close, Area 8, Garki, Abuja, which worth over N500 million, which the court had granted AMCON the possession.
Moved by the submissions of counsel to the school, Justice Buba directed the immediate unsealing of the school by AMCON.
Before ordering that the school be unsealed, the judge who was furious about the commissionâ€™s act, put a call to the AMCONâ€™s lawyer, Mr. Osahon Idemudia, and asked if he ordered that the school should be sealed and be guarded by armed policemen at the school.
However, dissatisfied with Osahonâ€™s response, Justice Buba said the court only granted AMCONâ€™s exparte application, by ordering it to take possession of the school pending the hearing of the substantive suit on the matter, and not to seal it up.
In unsealing the school, Justice Buba ordered for the courtâ€™s Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR), Mr. Bello Okandeji, to inform him of the development, who in turn summoned the two bailiffs who aided AMCON in carrying out the act.
Parts of the letter directing AMCON to unseal the school written and signed by the court DCR, Okandeji, read: â€œWith respect to the possession of Queensland Academy Schools, I hereby notify you that there is no instruction for padlocking the premises.
â€œThere is different between possession and execution. The court did not order for locking down the premises, but to take possession of the premises which does not include locking down the premises.
â€œAs a result, the court had directed that the gates should he opened with immediate effect, which our bailiff is there to effect.
â€œKindly allow/permit the bailiff to open the gate and permit the students to continue with their activities without hindrances please.â€