Wednesday, November 4, 2020

IPPIS:FG, ASUU Still Disagree

      Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed

There seems to be no end to the over Seven months old strike by lecturers in the public universities in Nigeria, as the both the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) continued with their disagreement over platform for payment.

Finance Minister, Mrs Zainab Ahmed on Tuesday insisted on the use of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) for the payment of university lecturers’ salaries.

The Minister who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance in Abuja, said that the IPPIS would remain in use until the University Accountability and Transparency Solution (UTAS) undergoes expert verification.

According to her,"UTAS, developed by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), is a prototype of the IPPIS, which the union urged the government to implement rather than the IPPIS."

    ASUU President, Prof. Ogundipe 

But ASUU in quick response, maintained that its ongoing strike is the only way to rescue public universities from being crippled financially.

Coordinator of the Lagos zone of the union, Prof.Olusiji Sowande addressing newsmen on Tuesday at its zonal meeting held on the campus of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State,said the Federal Government was in arrears of over N200 billion of revitalisation fund for public universities.

Chairman of ASUU-OOU, Dr. Joel Okewale; Chairman, ASUU-Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), Abeokuta, Dr. Adebayo Oni and Chairman, ASUU-University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr Dele Ashiru, were present during the briefing.

Sowande expressed concern that government had not demonstrated political will  to resolve the strike , saying the government seems to be very comfortable with students facing the risk of being at home till next year.

He accused the government of engaging in all sorts of “blackmail, intimidation and propagation of falsehood to the public in a bid to push the blame on ASUU” for the ongoing strike.

ASUU according to Sowande, will not be distracted by blackmail in its resolve to get funds for the revitalisation of public universities.

The union insisted on the renegotiation of its 2009 agreement with the Federal Government on the payment of salaries and check-off as well as payment of Earned Academic Allowances(EAA) which it alleged were illegally withheld.

ASUU is also demanding for the constitution of visitation panels and stoppage of the proliferation of universities.

Sowande asked the public and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to do the needful and end the seven months old strike.

Meanwhile Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has pleaded with the lecturers to end the strike in the students’ interest.

His words: “We need to get to a point of convergence with ASUU, but I also think ASUU should begin to look at this from the position of their importance. It is the children of ordinary Nigerians who attend the local universities.

"So, even if it is for the sake of ordinary Nigerians who have children in these universities and cannot afford to send their children to private universities or abroad, ASUU should call off the strike"

The governor was speaking in Ado-Ekiti while hosting members of the Board of Trustees of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, led by its Chairman and former Niger State Governor, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, in his office.

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