Following that action of the National Board for Technical Education against Abia State Polytechnic Aba, the governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu said the action was embarrassing.
He has therefore appealed to the students of Abia Poly and other well-meaning Abians to remain calm, while a task force has been set up to resolve the matter.
In a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Barr Chris Ezem, the state government said it “views the decision of NBTE against the institution as very embarrassing and capable of destabilizing the current peace and harmony existing in the state, as the fate of the students of the institution appears to be jeopardized by the said action.
“It must be placed on record that Academic activities have been ongoing in the institution without interruptions; the teachers and staff of Abiapoly were not on strike and have remained committed to their duties.
“As part of the measure to reposition the institution, Government hereby announces the immediate dissolution and suspension of the council and management of the institution respectively.
“In line with the foregoing, the government has approved the constitution of a 6-man task force to restore the Accreditation of Abia Poly within 30 days”.
Members of the task force, the statement said, include Prof. Ikechi Mgboji as the Chairman and Mr Stanley Nwankpa, the school Student Union Government President as a member, among others.
Meanwhile, the institution’s Rector, Prof. Okorie Kalu Osonwa, has assured the students of the government’s commitment to promptly resolve the issues of de-accreditation.
Addressing the students yesterday, Prof. Osonwa informed them that the polytechnic management was in talks with the state government to look for ways to resolve the issue.
He, therefore, urged the students not to be carried away by stories online, assuring that the issue will soon be resolved. He further advised them to continue with their academic activities.
It would be recalled that the NTBE revoked the accreditation of the institution over the Institution’s failure to pay staff salaries and allowances for over 30 months.
In that statement issued on Tuesday, a spokesperson for NBTE, Fatima Abubakar, said the accreditation was withdrawn because the polytechnic had not shown any commitment to offset the arrears and ensure regular payment of salaries.
“It is, therefore, with the utmost sense of responsibility that the board has decided to withdraw the accreditation status of the polytechnic to safeguard the quality assurance mechanism of the board,” Ms Abubakar said, adding that the Governing Council and management of the polytechnic made several failed promises to settle the backlog of salary arrears.
She explained that regular salary payment was a key component of the board’s normative instruments for quality assurance in the polytechnics, technical, vocational education and training, TVET institutions.
Ms Abubakar also mentioned that the board had earlier drawn the attention of the polytechnic’s management to the consequences of failing to pay salaries, including the suspension of quality assurance visits, informing “The board went the extra mile of writing to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state, informing him of the dire situation of the polytechnic, but all to no avail,” she added.
The Board similarly warned the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC that “no product of the Abia State Polytechnic should be mobilized for national service until the management of the polytechnic resolves the issue of nonpayment of salary to its staffers, while the Board promised to notify the NYSC once the accreditation status of the polytechnic is restored.”
The NBTE official said the board has also sent a similar notice of the withdrawal of the accreditation to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund and Industrial Training Fund to stop any official transaction with the polytechnic.