By Gilbert Ekezie
About 400 workers are feared to lose their jobs following the forceful taking over of Best Western Hotel located at Allen Avenue, Ikeja Lagos on Friday by The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
The incident which started at about 4am, took everyone by surprise as armed mobile policemen stormed the hotel in their large numbers and drove both the local and foreign guests numbering over 112, as well as workers in the hotel.
According to the Group Managing Director of Suru Worldwide Venture Nigeria Limited owners of the Hotel, Edward Akinlade, about 112 guests were driven out of the hotel by the AMCON team.
He explained that AMCON representatives and Police officers, along with thugs bombarded the said Company properties at NO 86, Opebi Road, Ikeja, No 12 Rev Ogunbiyi Street, GRA, Ikeja and 12 Allen Avenue, Ikeja all in Lagos on 30th August 2017 in purported execution of the judgment of the Honourable Court delivered on 30th May 2017.
Akinlade frowned that AMCON and their agents pad locked the hotel gates, preventing guests from leaving, while some who were chased out were left out of fears for their lives. “On 30th May, 2017 the Honourable Court delivered a judgment directing the Police to protect AMCON in the process of exercising its alleged right as a Mortgagee over our Company’s properties situated at No 86 Opebi Road Ikeja, Lagos, NO 12, Rev Ogunbiyi Street GRA I keja, Lagos and 12 Allen Avenue, Ikeja Lagos and despite the fact that the Company is the owner of the said properties and has been in actual possession of same for decades, carrying out its lawful business on the said properties, the AMCON knowing the interest of the company, fraudulently went behind the Company to obtain the said judgment without joining our Company as a party or giving any notice of the pendency of the suit to us.”
Akinlade stated that AMCON commenced suit in 2014 in the court, seeking an order that it was entitled to recover the debts of the Company in the sum of N15.3 billion for which the Company’s properties in above mentioned locations were claimed to have be used as collaterals. “In a well considered decision of the court, Idris dismissed the said suit with the cost of N50, 000.00 awarded the AMCON, in favour of our company and there was no appeal against the said final decision of the Court till date, less than a year after the said order of dismissal, AMCON commenced the current suit without joining our company.”
When contacted, Head Corporate Affairs of AMCON, Mr. Jude Nwauzor confirmed the take over, pointing out that there was a court order given early this month to that effect.
He claimed that Akinlade is indebted to AMCON and the matter has been in court for some time before it was finally ruled in favour of AMCON to take possession of the property. “The Truth is that he is owing AMCON and the Court ruled in our favour to take possession of the property. The process of taking over the hotel has been on for the past one week. We wrote a notice of possession on the premises and he wiped it off. And, each time we go there, Akinlade and his workers would always molest our Officials. In fact, we expected him to be gentle enough to vacate the premises peacefully because we did not want to create a scene, considering that it is a hotel where people go. But when we saw that he was not ready to vacate, we decided to force him out.”