Tuesday, February 20, 2024

ASUU rejects new IPPIS

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has rejected the introduction of a new Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, 'New IPPIS' in place of the rejected IPPIS, as payment platform for its members insisting that the Federal Executive Council, FEC, directive on the removal of universities from IPPIS be respected to the letter. 

Addressing newsmen in Makurdi, the Zonal Coordinator of ASUU-Nsukka Zone, Raphael Amokaha wondered why the FEC issued a directive removing universities from IPPIS and some persons for pecuniary reasons flouted the order. 

He recalled the running battle the union had with the IPPIS which it claimed was a conduit pipe for fraud "the union had even deployed its financial and human resources in designing a homegrown payment software known as the University Transparency Accountability Solutions, UTAS. 

"The UTAS which accommodated all the peculiarities of the universities was offered to the state by ASUU free of charge, but this offer was spurned by government, even after the software passed three tests with an average score of 95 percent. 

"The resistance of our union to IPPIS has been vindicated by the shocking revelations made since the arrest of the former Accountant General of the Federation. A report by a former Auditor General of the federation further gave credence to the stance of our union. It was therefore, with delight that the union received the news that FEC had diretted the immediate removal of universities from IPPIS. 

"Regrettably, this directive is yet to be complied with. More disturbing though is the emergence of a “new IPPIS”. 

"We do not understand what “new IPPIS” means but the directive of FEC was explicit, remove the universities from IPPIS, so whatever contraption someone has sprung up with whether new or not, it is still IPPIS and stands rejected. We are however, concerned that somebody somewhere can so flagrantly disregard FEC directives. 

"It can be inferred from observations that the people that are benefitting from IPPIS are not ready to let go of the federal universities for their pecuniary benefits hence the transformation from IPPIS to new IPPIS. We urge government to immediately fish out those behind this recalcitrance and call them to order." 

Lamenting government's flagrantly disregard for agreements reached with ASUU to better teaching and learning in Nigerian universities, ASUU regretted that government had failed to respect the agreements on funding of universities, the payment of members withheld eight months salaries, payment of Earned Academic Allowance, EAA, among others and urged the administration of President Bola Tinubu to ensure its promise to Nigerians that there would not be strikes under the present administration. 

According to ASUU, "President Bola Tinubu had declared that it is their responsibility to let the poor breath and not suffocate them. We beg that this should be extended to our members urgently. 

"Let the lecturers breath, do not suffocate them. The draft renegotiated 2009 agreement may need to be reviewed before signing now in order that what will be agreed upon now will be commensurate to the hyperinflation ravaging our country. 

"Pay the eight months withheld salaries of our colleagues. They have now done the work in full and to make it worse, the value of the eight months salary is now barely up to the value of two months salary at that time. The EAA arrears of our members must be paid urgently and this allowance mainstreamed as was agreed." 

"Adequate funding of our universities is something that the government will necessarily have to do if our country is to break away from the vicious cycle of fluctuations in our economic fortunes. We as a nation cannot continue to rely on the price of crude or the value of the dollar. 

"We must diversify into a knowledge based economy. This will be the foundation of an industrial boom and its attendant benefits. This cannot be achieved without massive funding of the education sector. It may be a long term plan but the journey of a thousand miles starts with a step." 

ASUU also frowned at the proliferation of universities in the country and the bid by the National Universities Commmission, NUC, to dictate the curriculum of universities, as well as the recent issue of the National Assembly allegedly harassing Vice Chancellors of universities over the intervention of TETFund in their various universities saying it was unacceptable. 

The union noted that "even though the high hopes we had with the advent of the present regime have dimmed we refuse to give up completely, and even in our hope, our resilience remains unwavering. ASUU-Nsukka Zone wishes to declare its implicit confidence in the national leadership of our union to continue to lead us on the path of selflessness and commitment to a better university."

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