The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has given fresh reasons why the more than seven months old strike lingers.
A statement signed by the ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, said the government is punishing university teachers because they rejected the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, which was imposed on the universities against the provisions of the law on autonomy and universal practices.
The ASUU said the claim by the government that the platform used in paying lecturers’ salaries before the imposition of the IPPIS has been dismantled is not true.
The statement said some ASUU members who have not enrolled in Ithe PPIS were paid part of their withheld salaries last week. But in furtherance of the attack on the ASUU, the Accountant-General of the Federation has illegally seized all the deducted union check-off dues in the last nine months.
The ASUU said it is at the final stage of the integrity test of the Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS, with the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA.
It said in parts that”…UTAS was developed locally by ASUU members, unlike IPPIS which was engineered by the World Bank and with the full cooperation of the concerned agencies, the final test with the NITDA could be completed as a matter of days and the UTAS adopted in place of IPPIS in the universities…”
The ASUU said In closing the meeting between the leadership of the lecturers’ union and the Federal Government team last Wednesday, November 4, 2020, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, promised to send to the Union, the government’s written position on the ASUU’s response to their initial offer.
The ASUU said the minister also added that all concerned Ministries, Departments, and Agencies would be consulted on Friday, November 6, for their inputs into the government’s new position, and at the time of this press release, it is yet to receive any position from government.
The statement reads further that “…The ASUU has shifted positions in some respects. For instance, our members have reduced their demand for one tranche of N220 billion of the outstanding revitalization fund by 50%. The Union has also agreed that N30 billion out of them so far verified arrears of N40 billion of the earned academic allowances be paid to our members while the balance of N10b could be spread over the next two tranches.
“We were equally making steady progress on other issues. What has stalled meaningful dialogue was the government’s insistence that payment of the withheld salaries and other entitlements of our members would only be effected through the IPPIS…”
The statement argued that it is the government that is prolonging the issues at stake, not ASUU, adding that government should release all that is due to ASUU members and the union, without the conditionality of the IPPIS, which would enable them to conclude on the outstanding five demands which are revitalisation, Earned Academic Allowance, renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement, the inauguration of Visitation Panels, proliferation of state universities and governance issues in them.