Staffs of the Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, are spoiling for war with management of the institution over alleged misappropriation of funds.
In fact, they have demanded removal of the Rector of the institution, Theresa Akande, and its governing council over what they described as “inability to provide quality leadership in the institution”.
The workers also called on both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to scrutinise the financial books of the school and vowed that they would not dialogue with the management until all their demands were met.
They alleged deduction of about N250 million from staff salary for cooperative purposes by the management but not remitted to the cooperative society.
The aggrieved workers also claimed that the rector has been wasting the institution’s meagre resources on frivolous overseas trips, saying about N16 million has been spent in this regards.
Three industrial unions in the school – Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP) and Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) – have, therefore, declared an industrial action and begun indefinite strike.
The unions also complained of non-payment of the members CONTISS 15 salary scale approved by the Federal Government for federal polytechnics since October 2, 2013.
Besides, the unions alleged that rather than being migrated to the next level, some of their members have been demoted and had their salaries cut illegally.
Leaders of the unions – Ayeni Oluwole of SSANIP, Tunji Owoeye of ASUP, Adekunle Adeniyi of NASU and National Secretary of SSANIP, Monday Jegede – spoke in turns on Wednesday while addressing the workers in front of the institution’s gate which had been put under lock and key by the unionists.
The ASUP chairman said: “We will not have anything to do with the management because the management has committed illegality and must face the wrath of the law.
“It is illegal to reduce workers’ salary without recourse to the law. They have to migrate us back and pay us in full. All these must be fulfilled before we can dialogue with the management.”
The aggrieved workers carried placards with different inscriptions such as, ‘Akande pay us our money’, ‘Federal Poly is a one-man show’, ‘N16m for one overseas trip’, and ‘Do we have governing council, ICPC, EFCC come to our aid’, among others.
They also sang war songs to denounce the management’s action.
SSANIP national scribe, Jegede, in his comment, assured that the national bodies of the unions were solidly behind the workers’ action.
“This is a battle that must be won, the national secretariat is aware of this action,” he said.
He warned the workers not to resume work, vowing that any worker who sells out would be dealt with.
But Public Relations Officer of the polytechnic, Adeyemi Adejolu, dismissed all the allegations, saying they were meant to tarnish the image of the Rector and members of the governing council.
In a telephone interview, Adejolu attributed inability of the institution to remit check off dues to cooperatives to shortfall in its monthly allocation from the federal government.
He explained that the stoppage of the CONTISS 15 was a directive from the federal government.
“As at this time around, the Federal Government is saying that any Rector that has paid CONTISS 15 should refund it while whoever has not paid should stop.
“So it is a directive from the government,” the PRO said.
He added: “The monthly salary of the polytechnic is over N230 million while the government is releasing just N178 million.”
He said rather than go to the bank to borrow, the management parleys with leaders of the cooperatives that the check off dues would be delayed.
“I don’t know the exact amount the cooperative is being owed but I am sure it is not up to N250 million the workers alleged.”
While exonerating the polytechnic from blame, the spokesman said the Federal Government was aware of the situation, which, he added, was characteristic of all federal polytechnics.
He dismissed the call for sack of the rector and dissolution of the governing council, saying it was ill motivated and “giving the dog a bad name in order to hang it”.
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