Retrenched Abia Poly Workers To Ikpeazu: Only God Will Judge You

Suleiman Anyalewechi, Aba

The over 250 retrenched employees of the Abia State Polytechnic Aba have said that only God, the impartial arbiter in the affairs of man will judge their case with the immediate past Governor of the state, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu.

NewsCritic online reports that the Polytechnic management led by the former Rector Prof Friday Ezionye Ebon had in August 2019 sent into the employment market no fewer than 250 staffers of the institution, in an exercise perceived by many as being politically motivated. 

Instructively, the retrenched workers were sent packing at a time they were being owed 19 months’ salary arrears, including leaving work without any entitlements, gratuities and allowances.

Although, the matter remains a subject of legal brick bats at the Industrial Court in Owerri, leader and spokesperson for the retrenched employees, Engr Godswill Umar in an interactive session with NewsCritic online last week, said they are hoping and reposing their trust in God to deliver justice to them, while also calling on the new man in charge of the state Dr Alex Otti to revisit not just the case of Abia Polytechnic retrenched workers, but many similar cases in government establishments.

According to Engr Umar who was the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union Of Polytechnics, ASUP, Abia Polytechnic chapter at the time of the mass retrenchment, many innocent workers in the state were victimized mostly based on political and clannish considerations, adding that some like him and other workers union leaders were sacked for being vehement and uncompromising in protecting the interests of their members.

“The retrenched workers were mainly punished on account of where they come from, as well as on the bases of trumped up charges of being sympathetic to the opposition during the 2015 general elections. Immediately after the elections names were compiled by their cronies in the system detailing some of those, they alleged worked against the second term bid of Okezie Ikpeazu.

“Others became victims simply because of the parts of the state they hail from. While people like us offended them for not compromising. Severally, at the tick of the struggle to draw the attention of the government to the plights of the workers, the government tried to compromise us the union leaders. But we told them to instead put together all, including what they were using to compromise us and pay the workers even if it was one-month salary. That was our offence, now if you are sacking your workers, you must ensure you settle all your obligations to them to start a new life. But in this case, the retrenched workers left without their 19 months salaries, no gratuities and entitlements- meaning they should go and die. As of today no landlord gives accommodation to Abia Polytechnic workers, Abia State university Teaching Hospital, ABSUTH, College of Health Aba, College of Education Arochukwu workers etc whether retrenched or still serving because they believe they cannot pay, ” Umar lamented.

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