Staff of Imo State Polytechnic (Imopoly) Umuagwo, numbering over 200, yesterday, 18th June, 2020, converged at the Imo International Convention Centre (IICC) Owerri, where they peacefully protested and aired their grievances over the non-payment of their salaries by the Imo State government.
While speaking to our reporter after storming the Secretary to the Imo State government’s office and addressed by the chief of staff to the SSG, some of the protesters who were visibly angry accused the government of deliberately frustrating and subjecting them to undue hardship.
According to them, “some staff were paid March and April salary, some were paid only for March while over 40% of the staff were not paid at all, thereby creating unnecessary chaos and tension with the questionable selective mode of payment”.
However, an Imo State government house source who pleaded anonymity, averred that the staff who were not paid are those who receive their salaries through the community bank with which the former Rector, Rev Fr (Dr) Wence Madu and his accomplices used to commit fraud and the Hope Uzodinma led government in it’s determination to rid the system of corruption and financial recklessness, is bent on tidying up some issues before paying the affected staff because the Micro Finance bank presently has a credibility problem. That was why they were excluded from the list of staff whose salaries were paid. He also revealed that the former Rector obtained an inexplicable N40 million loan from the said Micro Finance Bank. “All these have to be addressed and sorted out”, he said.
Incidentally, the views expressed by the government house source were outrightly debunked by some of the protesting staff who waived them off as gibberish, because according to them, “some staff of the polytechnic who receive salaries through other banks were also not paid. As a matter of fact, over ninety percent (90%) of those who were not paid receive their salaries through other banks, do not have accounts and have never had any transaction with the Micro Finance Bank they are talking about”.
When contacted, the Bursar of the Polytechnic, Mr Linus Okafor confirmed that some staff are being owed, but claimed that he is not aware of any fraud committed by the Micro Finance Bank or the management of the school now or in the past. He further stated that, “the issue of delayed payment of salary is not peculiar to Imo Poly because some other institutions are also grappling with similar problem”.
Speaking to our reporter later, the leader of the group of protesters, popularly known as Leader Might, stated that they will continue the protest on Tuesday.