Richard Ginika Izuora
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has warned that the Federal Government should expunge the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS); as a condition to call off its ongoing strike in the country.
Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President said this in a statement on Sunday, November 9, in Abuja, in which he indicated that the ongoing strike may still linger if the government failed to meet its demand.
The ASUU had embarked a nationwide strike on March 23 to press on its demands; which include revitalisation; Earned Academic Allowances (EAA); renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement; Visitation Panels, among others.
According to Ogunyemi, Nigerians should bear with us. ASUU is doing their battle.
“Our Union is struggling to ensure that the children of the poor, who cannot afford the prohibitive cost paid in private universities or do not have opportunities to study outside Nigeria; get quality education which is not priced beyond their reach.
“This will only happen when the government adequately funds public universities; and address the rot and decay in them.
“ASUU has shifted positions in some respects.
“For instance, our members have reduced their demand of one tranche N220bn of the outstanding revitalization fund by 50 per cent.
“The Union has also agreed that N30bn out of the so far verified arrears of N40bn of the earned academic allowances (EAA) be paid to our members; while the balance of N10bn could be spread over the next two tranches,
“We were equally making steady progress on other issues,” he said.
The ASUU president, therefore, noted that what had stalled meaningful dialogue was the government’s insistence; that payment of the withheld salaries and other entitlements of its members would only be effected through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
He added that the government was punishing university teachers because they rejected IPPIS; which was imposed on the universities against the provisions of the law on autonomy and universal practices.
He, however, said that ASUU was at the final stage of the integrity test; of the Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) with the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA.
The UTAS was developed locally by ASUU members; unlike IPPIS which was engineered by the World Bank.
Ogunyemi said UTAS had been presented to the Minister of Education and senior management staff; the President and leadership of Senate; and the Office of the Accountant-General; where NITDA and Office of the National Security Adviser and other MDAs were fully represented.
The ASUU president said it would take a longer period to capture more than three-quarters of its members who were not yet on IPPIS than the time required to run through the last stage of the integrity test for UTAS.
He added that the claim by the government that the platform used in paying its members’ salaries before the imposition of IPPIS had been dismantled was not true.
He noted that some of its members who had not enrolled in IPPIS were paid part of their withheld salaries last week.