…as strike stalls resumption of universities
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has said it will soon expose those feeding fat on the adoption of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS, by the Federal Government as its payment platform.
This is just as the union alleged that some people in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation are subverting its efforts to reach an understanding with the Federal Government on the controversial payment system.
The National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, stated this on Sunday in an interview with Vanguard.
Ogunyemi, who was reacting to a memo from the office of the AGF that any federal worker not yet captured on the IPPIS platform would not be paid salary as from November this year, noted that such a memo was not binding on his members.
“All the agreements we have been having since 1992 with the government have always been having the provision that circulars emanating from the civil service which don’t have origin in collective bargaining with the government won’t be binding on us.
“Circulars that will be binding on us are those coming out of our negotiation with the government like what we had in autonomy for university, retirement age and others. They can be respected because they are products of collective bargaining,” he said.
On why the union would not accept IPPIS, the ASUU boss explained that there was a meeting with the government where it was agreed that if ASUU could develop a better alternative to IPPIS, such an alternative would be adopted.
“Based on that, our members started work on the University Transparency and Accountability System, UTAS, and in the presence of the Minister, the Permanent Secretary and the leadership of the National Universities Commission, NUC, we demonstrated its use.
“IPPIS was not part of the reasons we went on strike early March this year. Now, it is clear that some elements who are benefiting from it and who do not want a better platform, brought IPPIS matter up and we are going to expose them soon.
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“Now, our members are being owed between three and eight months salaries. We know some people deliberately withheld their salaries.
“Nigerians should ask them why they are doing that,” he stated.
Meanwhile, feelers from federal universities in some parts of the country indicate that the government’s directive that schools should start resuming from Monday, October 12, may not hold water.
This is because the ongoing strike by ASUU and the 14 days warning strike by the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, and the Non-Academic Staff Union. NASU, may stall that.
Ogunyemi, while commenting on the development, urged Nigerians to understand what his union is fighting for.
“I have two children in public universities and so I am affected too. However, what we want is that our children should have access to sound and quality education.
“We don’t want what has been done to public primary and secondary schools to happen to our universities. Our products must be able to compete favourably in the global market,” he said.
Even when universities eventually resume, some may scrap one academic session.
For instance, first year students of the University of Ibadan admitted for the 2019/2020 session are yet to begin classes before schools were closed due to the outbreak of Coronavirus disease in the country.
Those to be admitted for 2020/2021 session are waiting in the wings for their admission.
In a related development, some Federal Polytechnics may open soon but strike notice by teaching and non-teaching staff may later be a hindrance.