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Polytechnic Alumni fingered in students protest amidst N150 million fraud allegation



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Polytechnic Alumni fingered in students protest amidst N150 million fraud allegation

By Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

The Isa Musthapha Agwai (IMA) Polytechnic, Lafia, Nasarawa State, Alumni Associstion has allegedly been accused of defrauding over 40, 000 students whooping sum of N150 million.
The said amount represented levy of N2000 each the students were made to pay for development to give the institution a face-lift.
NationalUpdate checks indicated that the association allegedly hired some hoodlums along with the students of the institution to stage a protest, owing to the fact that the school authority had blocked all the leakages of the previous portal which the body has been using to defraud the polytechnic and the students.

An impeccable sources from the institution indicated that the decision taken by the management in blocking all the leakages and going ahead to open another portal did not go down well with the Alumni, hence the protest by the students.

Credible sources with knowledge about the protest told NationalUpdate that the school management did not hike tuition fees as being alleged by the Alumni, adding that while the protest was going on over two hundred students registered on the new portal opened by the management.

According to the sources, the allegation levelled against the polytechnic by the Alumni was false and capable of bringing the integrity of the council, the management and the rector of the institution in particular to disrepute.

Another source, within the polytechnic community, said the alumni targeted the rector to make the state government suspend the entire council so as to pave way for them to return to their nefarious act of defrauding the institution, amidst decline in the revenue generation of the Polytechnic.

NationalUpdate gathered that when the new rector, Mrs. Justina Kotso came on board, she discovered that there were a lot of leakages on the institution’s portal.

It was further learnt that some staff reportedly connived with the Alumni body to issue out fake receipts and printing out of fake statement of results as well as collecting examination fees from the students to the tune of N150 million.

It was further gathered that the association executive that was innaugurated in 2014 has been holding sway till 2020 before the new rector was appointed by the visitor of the polytechnic, the Nasarawa state governor, Mr. Abdullahi Sule to replace the former rector, Dr. Silas Gyar.

It would be recalled a report had painted a vivid picture of how the former rector was suspended alongside his allies who were alleged to have defrauded the polytechnic of funds to the tune of over N2 billion.

Those who worked with the former rector during the financial crisis were, Mr. Labani Joseph-Dio, and Abdullahi Akyo, Registrar and Bursar respectively that were fired by the former governor of the state, senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura following alleged corruption and misappropriation of funds meant for the development of the institution to the tune of over N2 billion.

Mohammed Bako, Chairman Governing Council of the Polytechnic, said the governor’s decision then was in line with government white paper report on the investigative committee into the activities of the institution.

NationaUpdate reports that the dismissed staff were sent on compulsory leave October 26, 2017 to pave way for an investigation into their activities.

Findings by The NationalUpdate also indicated that during the reign of the former rector, the Polytechnic was generating ₦450 million as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), annually as revealed by a lecturer in the department of accounting.

It was learnt that the whistle-blower was later suspended by the institution’s management over the act. The IGR wad mostly generated from the sales of admission forms, and admission letters. But the larger chunk of revenue comes from the Consultancy Services Units that is enough to sustain the institution.

Feelers from the institution, disclosed that after discovering leakages, the rector of the polytechnic ordered for the immediate
closure of old portal and introduced a new portal.
However the situation reportedly did not go down with the alumni and other staff alkeged to have been conniving with the embattled alumni exco who were asked to stay action.
They however went ahead to instigate students and non-students of the polytechnic, in wild protest.

It was further learnt that one of the students of alumni (name withheld) was caught with two fake receipts he was issuing to students during examination adding the suspect is still cooling his heels in police custody as he is being investigated.

Sources within the polytechnic community confided in our correspondent that the operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps submitted a report to the management of the polytechnic, warning all parties involved to stay action adding that the election of new alumni exco remains null and avoid as investigation into the protest is ongoing.

Consequently, the state governor Abdullahi Sule when he visited the ICT center to inspect the level of destruction of the institution’s properties, frowned at the attitude of the alumni body as well as some staff who were allegedly involved in milking the polytechnic dry of funds.

“I knew that some staff of the polytechnic have been defrauding the institution and I am not happy with that. So whoever that instigated the protest will no go unpunished, they must be brought to book to serve as deterrent to others,” Governor Sule vowed.

Reacting to the protest and alleged defrauding of students to the tune
of N150 million, the national President of the alumni in the IMA polytechnic, Mr. Ogbele Arenya, described the allegation as false.

On the inauguration of the new exco, he noted that, there was no official document from the Governing Council halting the inauguration of the new excos, arguing that only a competent court of law could
issue an injunction halting the inauguration, hence, he proceeded with the inauguration of the new exco.

He, however, maintained that the N2000 alumni fees collected from the students could be accounted for as it was utilized for the purchase of computers in the school, renovation of multipurpose hall, sponsorship of students and many others.

He added that the alumni was not linked to the students protest, arguing that they had their issue with the polytechnic before the students unrest.

His words: “We are not linked to the protest. The election we had was a credible one in the eyes of credible observers and even some members of the state Independent Electoral Commission as well as security agencies in the state.”

“We decided to hold our election outside the school premises because when we came around for the election, we were ordered out by the security agents at the school gate saying that only staff from level 13 and above would be allowed entry to the school compound by the management,” He stated.

He, however, claimed that they were not given opportunity to air their grievances, hence the conduct of the election outside the school premises.

NationalUpdate reports that on March 11, 2021 angry students of the Isa Musthapha Agwai Polytechnic, Lafia, Nasarawa State staged a protest against the closure of the school’s registration portal by the institution.

It would be recalled that on March 12, 2021 no fewer than 27 students of the IMAP, Lafia were been arrested in connection with the protest by the police in Nasarawa state.

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‘Fed. Poly Ilaro, Yaba Tech upgrade to Varsity status will stmulate industrialisation’




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‘Fed. Poly Ilaro, Yaba Tech upgrade to Varsity status will stimulate industrialisation’

The Senator representing  Lagos West Senatorial district Solomon Olamilekan Adeola has indicated that the innovative exploits of the Federal Polytechnic Ilaro in inventing a ventilator during the COVID-19 pandemic has set it apart for necessary upgrade to University to help in the nation’s quest for industrialisation
He spoke in Abuja at the public hearing organised by the Senate committee on six bills he sponsored: Establishing Natiknal Institute for Border Studies Imeko, Arabic Language Village and French Language Village as Inter-University Centers and Upgrade of Federal Polytechnic Ilaro, Yaba College of Technology and Maritime Academy Oron to Full-fledged Federal Universiries in Nigeria.
While reacting to a poser on the need for the upgrade of the polytechnic to University, he said the institution has excelled in innovative researches that have contributed to the development of the country.
He said the Federal Polytechnic Ilaro has been given a lot of accolades as far as Polytechnic is concerned, “Infact they are the only Institution in Nigeria to invent or manufacture a ventilator during the COVID -19 pandemic.
“This was acclaimed by a University in France and by Nigeria. The only thing that we can use to stimulate that process is to upgrade this polytechnic to a university so that more researches can be done in this regard so that we can give it a legal backing to empower the Government of the day to be able to upgrade it.,”
Also he indicated that the Foremost tertiary institution in Nigeria Yaba College of Techenology which was established in 1947 has done so much in researches in the past. “It is the foremost polytechnic in Nigeria, it has been establish since 1947, from that time till now a lot of innovations, ideas have been done and don’t forget the funding for the polytechnic is quite different from that of the University.
“A lot of research process that ordinarily take place in the university can not take place in the polytechnic.
“So for us to allow YABATECH to do more exploits in this regards we need to upgrade it.
According to him, it is expedient and instructive to upgrade Yaba College of Technology and the Federal Polytechnic Ilaro to expand their exploits in researches.
“So we cannot leave behind polytechnic that are taking these giant strides in trying to reposition and industrialize our nation at polytechnic level but to go ahead and upgrade them to university status.”
Also he said the number of youths seeking admission to acquire University education outstretches the current available opportunities, hence, as the country grow in population, infrastructure should also expands.
He said, there was need for the training of technology-based students to solve technological problems in the 21st century.

Olamilekan expressed shock at the recent study by the “Population Institute Canada”, which revealed that only 26% of 10 million applicants to Nigeria’s tertiary institutions secure admissions.
Speaking on hurdles of getting admission, he said: “The trend continues unabated till date. From Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) records in 2017, only 30% out of the 1.7 million candidates who wrote the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) got admission.
“With about 170 public and private Universities in Nigeria with a capacity for about 700,000 students at any point in time, it is clear that in Nigeria we are yet to get to the point where we have enough admission spaces in Universities for our youths in Nigeria.
The public hearing was attended by stakeholders from the educational community including Rectors of the affected Polytechnics as well as traditional rulers.

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Sack of LAUTECH VC: SPN insists, 7 months unpaid salary arrears is enough incitement for workers




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Sack of LAUTECH VC: SPN insists, 7 months unpaid salary arrears is enough incitement for workers

The Socialist Party of Nigeria, (SPN) Oyo State Chapter has rejected the ploy by Oyo State government to hide under a legitimate agitation by workers in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH) Ogbomosho over payment of their outstanding salary arrears as a basis for the sack of Prof. Michael Ologunde, the university Vice-Chancellor. 
This was contained in a statement that was signed and issued by the SPN State Secretary
Comrade Ayodeji Adigun and was made available to.the NationalUpdate on Tyesday.

The statement indicated that Governor Seyi Makinde of the State had on Saturday, February 20, 2021 during a live radio program of the Broadcasting Cooperation of Oyo State, (BCOS) alleged that the Vice-Chancellor was the one inciting the workers of the institution to embark on the said  agitation for the payment of their over 7 months outstanding salaries.
However, the Statement disagreed, saying SPN finds the allegation denigrating and mischievous!
“It is denigrating because it portends the workers which include both the academic and non-academic staff of the university as robots under the remote control of the Vice Chancellor.”

“It is quite unfortunate that the PDP-led government in the state has failed to come to a realisation that owing its workers outstanding salaries of over half of a year is enough incitement for agitation.  But even if it was true that the VC incited workers, sacking him does not resolve anything.

“Neither does it change the fact that workers are being owed 7months salary. This means, it is only a matter of time before the university is rocked by industrial crisis again.

“Therefore, for us as a party, we think a more responsible approach is for the Oyo state government to pay all outstanding salaries and allowances of workers in order to put an end to the real root of workers anger and agitation instead of chasing shadows or using the university to settle political scores.

The statement also  stressed that the reported allegation levelled against the sacked Vice- chancellor and the attempt by the government to hide under same as a basis for the sack of the VC is mischievous.
“All workers of LAUTECH are organized under different trade union organizations, ASUU, SSANU, NASU, and NAAT recognized and established by law. “Therefore, they have the democratic right to embark on strike including peaceful protest to protect and defend both their economic and democratic rights without any incitement from any individual.
This it indicated, must be after a democratic discussion is conducted among members of the respective unions. 

“Therefore, SPN affirms the rights of LAUTECH workers to embark on strike and protest to demand the payment of their outstanding salaries.
“It is our belief that the demand is implementable and achievable regardless of whatever expenses the government claimed to have incurred to secure independent ownership of the university.  
“The traditional role of a union is to always seek to protect and advance the collective interest of its members.  
“We call on the leadership of the unions in the university to ensure that at no time must the integrity of the unions be allowed to be muddled and dragged into the rivalry struggle for domination among sections of the thieving elites.
SPN expressed the believe that the removal of Prof. Michael Ologunde, who is an appointee of the APC-led Osun state government which co-owned LAUTECH with Oyo state until recently is a manifestation of the struggle for political domination between the PDP faction of the ruling elites and its APC counterpart.
“While we recognize the importance of defending the law and procedure that establishes and guides the university respectively, it is our belief that such must not be done at the expense of the independence of the unions from undue interference of any section of the ruling elites.
Besides, the party warned against any attempt to divide the University along indegeneship lines.
“We demand the protection of the rights of every worker and student regardless of whether they hail from Osun and Oyo state.

SPN reiterated that only an independent union free from undue interference and influence of the ruling elites and their agent like the Vice-chancellors will always be able to ensure an adequate protection of the collective interest of the workers at all-times regardless of where they hail from.

It urged on the Oyo State government to pay all backlog of owed p and allowances and urged the leadership of LAUTECH workers unions not to allow the integrity of the unions to be muddled into rivalry contest for domination between APC and PDP.

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FG develops implementation guidelines to address out of school children




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FG develops implementation guidelines to address out of school children

By Mustapha Sumaila

Federal Government says it has concluded plans to develop a national implementation guideline on the Accelerated Basic Education Curriculum (ABEC) programme to address issue of out of school children.

Executive Secretary, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) Prof Ismail Junaidu, made the disclosure at a workshop in Abuja on Saturday.

The week long workshop on Training of Master Trainers on ABEC was organised by Plan International Nigeria with funding from the European Union for selected teachers in crisis ridden states in the North-East.

Junaidu explained that the guidelines would be all inclusive where states and stakeholders including non-governmental organisations as well as development partners expected to key into the programme.

“The train-the-trainers strategy will give us the opportunity of training a larger number of teachers as we plan for a national rollout of the programme.

“Currently, we are at the verge of completing the piloting of the programme in Borno State and environs.

“It is important that I inform you that the result from the pilot-testing exercise gives further impetus to stay on course in our intention to use the programme as to bring down the number of out-of-school youths and children in Nigeria.

“Let me also inform you that while some teacher support materials have been completely developed others are the completion stages” he said.

The executive secretary said one of the critical requirements for the successful implementation of the ABEC is the availability of teachers who were adequately prepared to effectively teach the contents of the curriculum.

According to him, ABEC is a specialised curriculum with unique implementation strategy which makes it very essential that teachers are given special training on the use of the curriculum.

“One way of getting teachers trained on the implementation of the curriculum is to train a selected number of teachers who will in turn train other teachers.

“Principally, the training is intended to provide adequate guidance to the teachers towards ensuring that the learners derive maximum benefits from the well-designed curriculum.

“It will also give the teachers the opportunity to interact deeply with the curriculum and the programme structure” he added.

Junaidu however commended Plan International led consortium for its commitment to the ABEC Programme in the country.

He added that since the beginning of the organisation’s partnership with the Frderal Government on this project, it had continued to demonstrate unwavering commitment to the successful implementation of ABEC.

In her remarks, Mrs Jummai Musa, Director, Programme Quality and Innovation of Plan International Nigeria decried the rate of out of school children in the country.

Musa said in the past 11 years of insurgency in the country, there were children that were born that period that had no access to education due to collapse education system in some communities.

She explained a curriculum had been designed for abridged programme for such children in order to be placed in their appropriate classes with a view to have them in schools.

According to her, the number of out of school children is alarming hence the need for well meaning organisations to work with the government to address it.

She added that Plan International was committed and ready to support the government to drive the implementation of ABEC initiative. (NAN)

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