From Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Armed police officers and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) operatives allegedly stormed Kings Planet International School, Okpuno, harassing and shoving around the pupils and their teachers with guns.
The security agents, according to the school management, accompanied the task force of the Anambra State Signage and Advertisement Agency (ANSAA) who were hunting revenues.
Assistant Manager of the school, Emmanuel Emeka, at a press briefing, said the incident happened last Friday. He said the security agents and the ANSAA officials moved into their crèche and chased out the little children at about 12noon that fateful day.
Emeka explained that ANSAA had slammed N100,000 charge on them for four billboards, whereas they didn’t have such a number and later increased it to N150,000.
“What has happened even before now was that they came and said that the Kings Planet was supposed to pay N100,000 for four signboards. Knowing that we didn’t have up to four signboards, we told them to go and do their job well and they said they would investigate and get back to us.
“We could not even wait. The director had to place a call to them to find out if they had checked. The director of ANSAA told him that he would get back to him. That was where the whole thing was. Everybody was waiting to hear from them, but all of a sudden, that fateful Friday, the men came with some police officers and Civil Defence operatives,” he said.
The Assistant Manager alleged that the agency later agreed that a part of the bill could be paid immediately to allow the pupils to remain in school.
He said he was told to make cash withdrawal, using a Point of Sale (POS) machine a policewoman in the team came with, as a part of that payment must be made in cash.
“They said the other N50,000 that was charged for not paying on time has to be paid in cash. So, the N75,000 which is half of the N150,000 was split into two.
“N50,000 was made into the government account and then N25,000 was given in cash for penalty. We paid 50 percent of the revenue and penalty charges. There was a policewoman among them who had a POS machine. She also charged N200 for her service.
When contacted, the Managing Director/CEO of the agency, Odili Ujubuoṅu, denied the allegations. He said the school paid N100,000 into the government’s account.
“Payment is received by the AIRS (Anambra State Internal Revenue Service). ANSAA doesn’t receive payment. There was no policewoman in that group. On the issue of POS, yes, there is a government POS they go with, and the payment is made into the POS,” he said.