Chidimma Uchegbu, Abuja
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has frowned at reports suggesting that it has waived sanctions for lecturers who failed to attend conferences for which they were paid under the Fund’s Conference Attendance Intervention Programme.
Speaking in a statement signed by its Acting Director, Public Affairs, Abdulmumin Oniyangi, TETfund said the reports were untrue and may have been construed to mislead the public.
According to the state, Executive Secretary of the Fund, Arc. Sonny Echono never at any time during his interaction with visiting Council of Heads of Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology in Nigeria (COHEADS), make any such waiver. It said that Arc. Echono was rather insistent that the defaulters will be made to refund whatever money given to them by the fund.
“We wish to state categorically that at no point did the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono blankly waive sanctions for such categories of lecturers.
“The Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc Sonny Echono was specific when he was addressing the Council of Heads of Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology in Nigeria (COHEADS) who paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja.
“For purpose of clarity, the Executive Secretary was responding to an appeal by the COHEADS for assistance with TETFund Special Intervention on capacity building and training for Polytechnic lecturers through Conference Attendance to equip them and develop their capacity to train students to be skilled entrepreneurs on graduation.
“In his speech, Arc Echono drew the attention of lecturers to take advantage of the platform of the Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa (ATUPA) Conference scheduled for year 2022”, the statement read.
It further quoted the Executive secretary as telling his guests that “you did mention the ATUPA Conference. Many of the schools have not been performing very well in the recent past. Many institutions have not been able to access our Intervention for Conference Attendance. Those that are able to access some have not attended. So, when we see a programme identified by you and is beneficial to all, we will prioritize it”.
“Indeed, for those staff in polytechnics, who have not been able to attend their conference that we have sanctioned, we will offer this (Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa ATUPA, Conference) window of opportunity for them. For anybody who wants to attend this conference, who has outstanding, collected money and has not used it for the purpose it was meant for, we will approve. So that they utilize it and go and attend the conference to take them off the hook of those that would be asked to refund the money they collected without attending the conference”.
According to TETfund, the rebuttal “has become necessary to put the records straight as some of the media reports carried headlines that could easily mislead the public; and in this case, several concerned institutions and affected staff, have continued to put phone calls across to the Fund to ascertain the authenticity or otherwise of the report.
“The Management of TETFund wish to appeal for caution on the part of the media to restrain from using sensational headlines or words that could mislead the public.
“It is noteworthy that TETFund will always be guided by its Mandate and Establishment Act, which entrenches accountability and transparency in the conduct of its day-to-day activities with Beneficiary Institutions.
“Consequently, those who have been found wanting with regard to Conference Attendance Programme of the Fund will be sanctioned accordingly.”