ABA—Newly inaugurated Governing Council of the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, has vowed to recover all looted funds and redirect them to the development needs of the institution.
Chairman of the Council of the Polytechnic, Dr. Chuku Wachukwu who stated this in Aba, lamented that a N2billion loan taken by the past governing council to offset arrears of salaries owed workers was totally mismanaged, leaving the institution in huge debts.
He, however, added that the visitor to the Polytechnic, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, had paid off the loan to enable the new council operate on a clean slate, but regretted that the institution has further been exposed to another debt, amounting to over N2billion with a bloated staff strength.
According to Wachukwu who was flanked by members of the council, “the N2billion loan was to offset 8 to 10 months salary arrears. It was totally mismanaged through fictitious contracts; they were unable to offset the salary arrears owed workers. We have the various workers unions who are now on strike; they were there and said nothing. They have suddenly woken up to embark on strike.
It was just reported to me that there is a difference between the hard and soft copy versions of the wage bill. This is part of the rot we won’t tolerate. Anybody found to have taken money belonging to the Polytechnic must pay, no matter his status. We will step on toes to rebuild Abia Poly and transform it into a first class institution.”
The chairman disclosed that the council has plugged revenue leakages while members have taken a decision not to collect sitting allowances until all arrears of salary owed workers are cleared.
On the strike action embarked by the workers’ union over the nonpayment of salaries, Wachukwu who is a former Director General of the National Directorate of Employment, NDE, said; “We inherited a strike action by the workers’ union.
We wanted to dialogue with them, but they refused. If you have conflict, how do you resolve it, is it not through dialogue? As DG, NDE, I led a delegation to the International Labour Organization for 10 years. So, I’m aware of labour protocol, it doesn’t include locking up your employer and blocking people. This is Abia Poly, not union Poly. We recognize their right to protest, but won’t tolerate irresponsible unionism.
They have received March salary; we have started paying that of April. We have also approved the release of outstanding promotion. All staff of Abia Poly must resume work. The union members are taking N3, 000 daily since the strike, that’s why they don’t want dialogue. Any union member who blocks the gate again will be arrested.”