Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has approved the release of N450 million as salary support to the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, to pay 4 months out of the 30 months arrears of salaries owed workers of the institution.
The National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, had last week, withdrawn the accreditation of the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, over the nonpayment of 30 months arrears of salaries owed workers.
Ikpeazu who disclosed this when he received a delegation of student leaders from the tertiary institutions in the State on a solidarity visit at the Governor’s Lodge Aba, explained that the government is not responsible for the payment of the salaries of the workers of the Polytechnic or any other tertiary institutions in the State.
He, however, pledged that his administration will not abandon the Polytechnic and would continue to pay the N90 million monthly subventions to the institution. He further disclosed that his administration has paid a total of N7.1 billion subvention to the Polytechnic since it assumed office in 2015.
In his words; “What the State Government owes the Institution is a monthly subvention of 90 million Naira. My administration has so far paid a total sum of 7.1 Billion Naira to the Polytechnic since we assumed office in 2015, translating to 92 Million Naira every month for the 78 months he has been in office as Governor.
“With this 450 Million Naira additional support, the Polytechnic has received over 7.5 Billion Naira from his administration and I wonder why the institution is unable to manage their internal financial issues since they collect and retain all manner of fees from their students.”
He advised that the Polytechnic must be able to manage what is available to them since they handle their admissions independently and recruit their own staff.
On the withdrawal of the accreditation of the Polytechnic by the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, the Governor insisted that NBTE’s mandate does not extend to shutting down an institution on account of labor related issues since it is not the National Industrial Court.
Ikpeazu queried why the NBTE has not withdrawn the accreditation of some tertiary institutions in some parts of the country where insecurity has stopped academic activities for over 2 years but chose to do so to Abia Polytechnic where teaching and learning are ongoing.
The Governor assured the students that he and the lecturers have reached a written agreement that academic activities at the Polytechnic will continue unabated while the interface with the NBTE continues towards the resolution of the crisis.
He commended the student leaders for refusing to be used as agents of destabilization on account of the challenge at Abia Polytechnic and urged them to be on guard especially as the period of elections are near as desperate politicians may want to use them to cause confusion in the state.
Earlier, the student leaders drawn from the Students Union Government of all the tertiary institutions in the State, the National Association of Nigerian Students,NANS, and the National Association of Abia State Students ,NAAS, told the Governor that the students are behind him and would not allow those who do not wish the state well to use students to cause confusion.
They also told the Governor that those who claimed to be student leaders and passed a vote of no confidence on the Governor last week, were not students of any institution in the state.