Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has approved the release of the sum of 450 Million Naira as Salary Support to the Abia State Polytechnic to immediately pay 4 months out of the salaries owed workers by the Polytechnic.
The Governor stated this today when he played host to a delegation of Student Leaders from the tertiary institutions in Abia State who paid him a solidarity visit at the Governor’s Lodge Aba
The Governor made it clear that while the State Government is not responsible for the payment of the salaries of the workers of the Polytechnic or any other tertiary institutions in the State, his administration will not abandon the Polytechnic.
According to the Governor, what the State Government owes the Institution is a Monthly Subvention of 90 Million Naira, stating that his administration has so far paid a total sum of 7.1 Billion Naira to the Polytechnic since he 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 wonders why the institution is unable to manage their internal financial issues since they collect and retain all manner of fees from their students.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu insisted 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 NBTE and the purported withdrawal of the accreditation of the Polytechnic, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu made it clear that the mandate of the NBTE does not extend to shutting down an institution on account of labor related issues since it is not the National Industrial Court.
The Governor wondered why the NBTE has not withdrawn the accreditation of some tertiary institutions in some parts of the country where insecurity has stopped academic activities for over 2 years but chose to do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 an institution 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.
The Governor said that the State Government and the leadership of the Abia State University will meet on Friday to deepen conversation on how to resolve the labor issues at the University, assuring that his administration remains committed to all the State owned higher institutions.
He expressed happiness that the student leaders have risen to the occasion by refusing to be used as agents of destabilization on account of the challenge at Abia Poly. He advised the students to be on guard especially as the period of elections draw close because desperate politicians are out to use them to cause confusion in the State. He was delighted to hear that the students resisted the plan by some interests to stage protests over the issue.
Speaking earlier, the student leaders drawn from the entire 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 were solidly behind him and would not allow those who do not wish our state well to use students as canon fodders.
They also told the Governor that the those who claimed to be Students Leaders who purportedly passed a vote of No Confidence on the Governor were fake and were not students of any institution in Abia Stat. This, according to them, led them to swiftly address a Press Conference last week where they passed a resounding VOTE OF CONFIDENCE on the Governor.
The Student Leaders were led to the meeting by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Students Matters, Mr. Ndom.
The Honorable Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji was also part of the meeting.