Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia has approved the release of N450 million as salary support to the State Polytechnic for immediate payment of four months salary arrears.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary of the governor, Onyebuchi Ememanka in Aba.
This, followed the withdrawal of Abia Polytechnic’s accreditation by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) over non payment of 30 months salaries.
The governor gave the approval on Wednesday while hosting a delegation of Student Leaders from the tertiary institutions in Abia who paid him a visit at the Governor’s Lodge in Aba.
The governor said although the government is not responsible for the payment of salaries of tertiary institution workers in Abia including the polytechnic, his administration will not abandon them
“What the State Government owes the institution is a monthly subvention of N90million and this administration has so far paid N7.1 Billion to the Polytechnic since I assumed office in 2015.
“This translates to N92million every month for the 78 months I have been in office as governor.
“With this N450million additional support, the polytechnic has received over N7.5billion from this administration,” he said.
He wondered why the institution is unable to manage its internal financial issues since it “collects and retain all manner of fees from their students.”
Ikpeazu said the polytechnic must be able to manage what is available to it since it handles admissions independently and recruit it own staff.
Commenting on the withdrawal of accreditation for the polytechnic by NBTE, the governor stated 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The governor wondered why NBTE has not withdrawn the accreditation of tertiary institutions in some parts of the country where insecurity had stopped academic activities for over two years.
He said the government and Abia State University management will meet on Friday, to resolve labour issues at the University, assuring of government’s commitment to all 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.
The student leaders who spoke earlier, were drawn from the Students Union Government’s of all tertiary institutions in the state.
They told the governor that those who claimed to be student leaders who passed a vote of “No Confidence” on the governor were fake and were not students of any institution in Abia.
This, according to them, led them to swiftly address a news conference where they passed a resounding Vote of Confidence on the Governor.
The students whose names were not given were made up of members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and the National Association of Abia State Students (NAAS).