Abia State government on Thursday declared that it has so far released a total sum of N7.1billion to the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, even as it condemned the action of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), in withdrawing the accreditation of the school for nonpayment of salaries.
The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Barr Eze Chikamnayo who disclosed this in a press conference in Umuahia, the state capital Thursday evening, stated that the state is embarrassed by Tuesday withdrawal of the accreditation of all the courses in the school by board occasioned by nonpayment of salaries.
He blamed the nonpayment of 30-month salaries of academic and nonacademic staff on poor management of the school, arguing that NBTE should not have constituted itself into a trade union that canvasses for salaries and emoluments for its members.
“NBTE must not take over the work of a trade union. Issues of salaries, pensions, allowances etc of workers in polytechnics are not part of its schedule. After all, if the board and management had lived up to their responsibilities, the school would’ve flourished rather than floundering as it presently does”, Chikamnayo maintained.
Governor Okezie, he opined, came into office as governor in May 2015, which today is about 40 months in office. If you divide N7.1billion by 40 months, you’ll arrive at the total sum and calculation of the government releasing about N92million every month and by law, the government is supposed to give the school N90million.
“In other words, the Ikpeazu’s government has given the school more that what the law stipulates. This is a school that autonomous in all ramifications; it collects school fees, levies and other levies and does not remit anything to government coffers. It doesn’t even pay taxes to government. So, where does the money go?” The commissioner queried.
On insecurity in some parts of Abia State, the Abia commissioner disclosed that illegal structures and shanties in the Cattle Market in Umunneochi were recently demolished by the committee set up by the state government to fight kidnapping and armed robberies and other violent crimes in the area, saying that it is because they served as hideouts to criminals and terrorists operating in and around the market.
“We hereby use this forum to sound it as a note of warning to any individual or group that inhabits any Abia forests that the government and people of this state will not tolerate that. We’ll dislodge you in no distant time. Businesses are not done in the forests but in cities and markets. So be warned”, he warned.
According to him, findings by the government revealed that criminals operating as kidnappers return to the shanties and illegal structures after carrying out their nefarious activities in the highways, roads and farmlands to share their loots.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.