Hon. Chijioke Chukwu, of the All Progressive Congress, member representing Bende state constituency in Abia state House of Assembly, on Monday, questioned the legitimate use of funds allocated to Abia State University, Uturu, the state’s owned university.
“Over the past 5 years, Abia state university has received over five billion naira (N5bn) from the federal government to improve infrastructure but if you go to Abia state university today, you will find out that there is no difference between when they received that fund and now.” Hon. Chukwu alleged.
This development is coming as the state is battling with salary arias of teaching and non teaching staff.
Hon Chukwu, the Deputy minority leader of the state’s house of assembly participated in a live radio (flo 94.9 fm) political program in Umuahia, alleging that the state owned tertiary institution has received over N5bn from the federal government’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
Hon. Chijioke Chukwu noted that his desire to investigate the funding of the university was to find out what other states are getting from the federal government which Abia state may be omitted from.
In his response to questions fed during the interview, Hon. Chukwu expressed serious displeasure on infrastructural development in the state’s owned University.
His words: “Any government who is thinking about the welfare of the people should take education seriously; it should be one of the major cardinal points.
“The governor has not done terribly bad, but I think there is room for a committed and serious improvement from the government, particularly in the tertiary institution.
“Abia state University is the only citadel of learning, the state is solely responsible for. I feel that as their resources come, they should improve on the funding of the university.
“What have they done with the money they got from the APC led federal government?” Hon. Chukwu questioned.
“I challenge the university management to come on air and tell Abians where they have deployed these resources.” He added.
Hon. Chukwu gave a statistic record of funds made available to Abia state university by the federal government since 2016.
“In 2016, the federal government, through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) project, released N800m to Abia state university.
“In 2017 N800m was also made available to the same university as an intervention fund.
“In 2018, another N800m was also made available to Abia state university.
“In 2019, N3bn was released to the same university for infrastructural development and training.
“TETFund scholars from Abia state has not been paid their allowances.” Hon Chukwu alleged.
“I went out to find out if there is anything the federal government has been doing to other state and has not done to Abia.” Hon. Chukwu revealed.
“Even the optometry department they claim it’s been built with N5bn is still uncompleted.” I know the state of the art facilities you can build with N5bn.
“I challenge the management of Abia state University to prove me wrong. Hon Chukwu Boasted.
In a responds, the chief press secretary to Abia state governor, Barr Onyebuchi Ememanka who also participated on the program via phone, responded to other financial issues facing the institution.
Ememanka affirmed that the initial 15,000 naira “Covid-19 pandemic fee” introduced by the university management earlier made to be paid by returning students has been scrapped.
His words: “The government of Abia state is not involved in the day to day ruining of the institution and there are formal communication channel between the government and the school.”
Ememanka also revealed that the initial proposed fee for resuming students to pay as “Pandemic Prevention Fee” was 25,000 naira also meant for running medical checks and Covid-19 prevention facilities, but the state government decided to bear part of fee due to the economic situation in the country.
“Government initially agreed to pay 10,000 while students will have to pay 15,000.” He said.
Recall that candidreporters.com earlier reported that the Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, cancelled the payment of N15,000 “Pandemic Prevention Fee” in Abia State University (ABSU) and authorized the payment of N30,000 pocket money to Abia students in the institution.
Reports also had it that the Abia state University lecturer’s are being owned backlog of salary which drew the attention of the government to the protesting staff of the institution.
The governor then promised to rescue the management of the institution with 400m naira.
While asked the question if the state government has paid the 400 million naira to the institution, Ememanka said: “that question is not necessary, the university has not said they didn’t receive any money, has anybody complained to you that they have not received any money?” . Ememanka asked.
As at the time of filing this report by cadidreporters.com, investigations proved that pending non academic staff received April 2020 salary while some teaching staff has received May 2020 salary.
Before the live radio interview ended, the Abia state commissioner for information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu was said to have sent a message which answered the question “if the government has sent the promised 400 million naira to the institution”?.
Hon. John O. Kalu gave the fact that the said 400million naira has been paid to the Abia state University.