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.
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 said 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 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.
It was 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 inaugurated 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.
The dismissed staffs were sent on compulsory leave October 26, 2017 to pave way for an investigation into their activities.
Findings 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 alleged 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 were 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.
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.