By Ofonime Honesty
The Proprietor of Ritman College, Ikot Ekpene, Senator Emmanuel Ibokessien is on the verge of losing his cherished asset as Akwa Savings and Loans Limited remains on course to facilitate the winding up of the school over debt amounting to over 150 Million Naira.
The ailing bank owned by the Akwa Ibom State Government recently published a long list of debtors topped by Senator Ibokessien who is owing the sum of One Hundred and Fifty Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy Six Thousand, Ninety Two Naira, Seventy Four Kobo (N150,976,092.74k).
Having exhausted all avenues of compelling Ibokessien to pay the debt, the bank took the matter to the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Uyo Judicial Division.
In the suit dated September 10, 2019, with registration number FHC/UY/CS/135/19, the bank, in a Petition for Winding Up of the College, explained that having fully utilized the loan facilities, and despite persistent demands by the petitioner, Senator Ibokessien has wilfully failed, refused and/or neglected to repay the outstanding sums due on the said facilities.”
The bank declared that “the Respondent (Ibokessien) is insolvent and therefore unable to pay the debts because (1) More than Twenty-One (21) days has since elapsed and the company has not made the payment demanded in the petitioner’s Solicitor’s letter dated Monday, July 15, 2019; (2) the amount demanded exceeds Two Thousand Naira (his current account balance with the bank).
Akwa Savings and Loans Limited therefore prayed that “Ritman College of Agriculture, Science and Management Studies Limited be wound up by this Honourable Court under the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap C20, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 and the Companies Winding-Up Rules 2001.”
The bank also prays for “further orders as the Honourable Court may deem just to make in the circumstances.”
The Respondent was served the Winding Up Petition on Wednesday, September 25, 2019.
Meanwhile, information reaching this reporter has it that the protracted case has led the school management hike levies.
A parent who spoke divulged the information said with the immediate future of the school not secured, he has decided to enrol his son and daughter at another school for the new school session starting this September.
He alleged that Ritman College the protracted situation has led to laying off of a good number of teachers and non-teaching staff.
Another parent who preferred his initials, E. F. Y., to be used in the report, said despite assurances from the school management, he may consider withdrawing his child.
“Ritman College, as you may know, is a high quality school, the standard there is high. Whatever issue the school is having with any bank will be sorted out. I even think that the issue is mostly between the proprietor and the bank.
“Parents have been reassured that the situation has nothing to do with the running of the institution but I may have to withdraw my child if the court and bank go ahead to liquidate the institution. Well, I hope it does not get that”, the parent explained.
In a related development, staff and ex-staff of Akwa Savings and Loans Limited recently crippled activities at the bank on a peaceful protest
The aggrieved staff under the aegis of National Union of Banks, Insurance and Other Financial
Institution Employees (NUBIFIE) protested nonpayment of over twenty-four months salaries owed them.
*Culled from The Orbit*