The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has asked the federal government to take the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) out of their agreements, as a condition to call off its strike.
It will be recalled that ASUU embarked on a nationwide strike action in March over IPPIS as well as a disagreement pertaining to the revitalization of universities and earned academic allowances.
The president of the union, Biodun Ogunyemi, who issued a statement via NAN on Sunday, said the strike, over which ASUU had held several dialogues with the government, may still linger on if FG fails to meet the union’s demands.
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According to Ogunyemi, the dialogue had reached a stalemate after the FG insisted that the payment of the withheld salaries and other entitlements of its members would only be effected through the IPPIS, a payroll software ASUU had rejected.
“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.”
“This will only happen when FG adequately funds public universities and addresses the rot and decay in them,” Ogunyemi said.
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“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 percent.
“The Union has also agreed that N30 billion out of the so-far-verified arrears of N40 billion of the earned academic allowances (EAA) be paid to our members while the balance of N10bn could be spread over the next two tranches.”
Ogunyemi also added that ASUU is at the final stage of integrity test for the Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), an alternative software to IPPIS, it had proposed, with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
He said UTAS has been presented to the minister of education; the leadership of the senate; and the office of the accountant-general, where NITDA and the office of the national security adviser and other MDAs were represented.
Ogunyemi further stated that 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.
“Last Thursday, 5th November, the National Universities Commission (NUC) facilitated the presentation of UTAS to vice-chancellors and bursars of federal universities,” Ogunyemi added.
“All questions raised at the four levels of presentation of UTAS were satisfactorily answered.
“With the full cooperation of the concerned agencies, the final test with NITDA could be completed as a matter of days and UTAS adopted in place of IPPIS in our universities.
“But, in furtherance of the attack on ASUU, the accountant-general of the Federation (AGF) has illegally seized all the deducted union check-off dues of our members in the last nine months.
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“So, FG should release all that is due to ASUU members and the union without the conditionality of IPPIS.
“That would enable us to conclude on the outstanding five demands including revitalisation, EAA, renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement, the inauguration of the visitation panels.
“Others are the proliferation of state universities and governance issues in them of the Union to pave way for the quick resolution of the lingering crisis. It is the government that is prolonging the matter, not ASUU.”
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