Investigation: How Isa Agwai Poly, Lafia alumni reportedly behind students protest, embezzles N150m development funds in 6 years

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One of the buildings destroyed during the students protest inspected by Governor Sule

By Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

The alumni association of Isa Mustapha Agwai Polytechnic, (IMAP), Lafia, Nasarawa State, has reportedly defrauded over 40, 000 students to the tune of N150 million on the claim that it was going to use the N2000 development levy collected from each of them to development the institution.

Investigation by our correspondent, indicated that the association allegedly hired some hoodlums to join 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 students.

An impeccable sources from the institution confided in our correspondent that the decision taken by the management by blocking all the leakages and opened another portal did not go down well with the alumni, hence the protest by the students.

Credible sources with knowledge about the protest told our correspondent that the school management didn’t hike intuition fees as alleged by alumni, adding that while the protest was going on over two hundred students registered on the new portal newly opened by the management.

According to the sources, the allegation leveled against the polytechnic by the alumni was false, capable to rubbish the integrity of the council, the management and the rector of the institution in particular.

Another source, within the polytechnic community, informed our correspondent that the attitude of the alumni was targeted at the rector to make the state government suspend the entire council so as to pave way for them to reverse to their ill manner act of defrauding the institution, amidst decline in the revenue generation of the institution.

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

It was further learnt that some staff reportedly conniving with the alumni body issuing out fake receipts and printing out of fake statement of results as well as collecting examination fees from the students to the tune of N150million.

It was learnt that the association, who was sworn-in in 2014 and has been on the helm of affairs 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.

The story our correspondent recalls, had painted a vivid picture of how the former rector was suspended alongside his foot soldiers that were said to have defrauded the polytechnic 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 was 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 decision of the governor’s was in line with the government white paper report on the investigative committee into the activities of the institution.

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

Findings by our correspondent also shown 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. Sources of the IGR are mostly generated from the sales of admission forms, and admission letters. But the huge revenue comes from the Consultancy Services Units which 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, a situation reportedly did not go down with the alumni and others alleged staff who were said to have been conniving with embattle alumni exco who were asked to stay action but felt on their deaf ears as they allegedly went ahead instigated students and non-students of the polytechnic, amidst wide protest.

It was further learnt that one of the students of alumni (name withheld) was caught with two fake receipts issuing to students during the examination and the suspect is still under the police custody undergoing questioning pending when the police command complete its investigation.

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 should stay action and the election of alumni new exco is null avoid that investigation into the protest is ongoing.

His words: “All the parties should stay action and the election of the new alumni exco is null avoid pending the outcome of the investigative committee set up by council of the institution.”

Consequently, the state governor Abdullahi Sule when he visited the ICT center to inspect the level of destruction of the institution’s properties, frown at the attitude of the alumni body as well some staff who were allegedly involved in milking the polytechnic 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 not go caught free such must be arrested, punished and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others,” Governor Sule vowed.

Reacting on the protest and alleged defrauding of students to the tune of N150 million, the National President of alumni in the polytechnic, Mr. Ogbele Arenya, who spoke to our correspondent, described the information 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 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 observant even some 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 asked to go by the security agents at the school gate that only staff from Level 13 and above was allowed entry to the school compound by the management,” he revealed.

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

Our correspondent reports that March 11, 2021, angry students of the Isa Mustapha 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 have been arrested in connection with the protest by the police.

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