Uyo City Polytechnic shuts down over non-payment of 21 months salary
Academic and non-academic activities at the Uyo City Polytechnic in Akwa Ibom State have been grounded and the school shut down following non-payment of workers’ salaries for over 21 months.
When The Guardian visited the Nduetong Oku Community in Uyo Council where the institution is located, palm trees signifying traditional injunction and placards with different inscriptions were sighted at the school gate.
Some of the inscriptions read, “We Staff Members of The Polytechnic Need Our 21 Months Salary”, We Are Very Hungry”, “Etukudoh Family Honour Our Agreement,” and “No Payment No Work,” among others.
In a notice dated March 16, 2020 and pasted on the school gate, Rector of the Polytechnic, Mrs. Idem Iboro, directed staff members and students of the institution to proceed on a two-week break starting on Monday, March 16, pending resolution of the issues leading to the closure of the institution.
“This is to inform all staff members (apart from those on essential duties) and students to proceed on a two weeks break starting from Monday, March 16, 2020. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appeal to everyone to remain calm as the pending issues will be resolved amicably.
“Activities at Uyo City Polytechnic will resume fully on March 30, 2020,” the statement reads.When contacted on telephone, Iboro, said, “I came this morning and I saw the barricade, so I had to put up the notice and I am still investigating the matter.”
A staff member of the institution told The Guardian that he was in the school to sign the time book, only to be told by some staff members to leave the premises.
He said, “For 21 months no employee has received any salary even though they have been working, the proprietors of the school and the consultant have unresolved issues, which have affected both staff members and students leading to the closure of the school.
“The old management handed over to a new management on September 2, 2019, which was smoothly done, but along the line, we started having some issues. “We had a memo sent by the Chief Consultant who said we should regard Uyo City Polytechnic as not been owned by him. We heard the problem started when the proprietors were asking for another review of the agreement.
“We were meant to understand that the school owed ICT N5m, and Uyo City Polytechnic account was frozen by the court and based on that, we have stayed for months without receiving salaries.
Vice Chairman of Nduetong Oku Youth Forum, Marshal Effiong, who spoke with newsmen, blamed the proprietors for the closure of the institution.“Uyo City Polytechnic was mismanaged by the proprietors. They owe the staff 21 months’salary and Emmanuel Ekot took over the school under an agreement in September 2019 and changed the face of Uyo City Polytechnic,” he said. When contacted on telephone, one of the proprietors, Enoobong Etukudo, declined comment on the matter, saying he had to first meet with the Clan Head over the issue.
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