The meeting between the Federal Government and the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, over the controversial Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, platform last night ended in deadlock. There were heated arguments between representatives of Federal Government and ASUU as the two parties maintained their positions on IPPIS.
The meeting took place at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Abuja. As the meeting progressed, the quiet atmosphere suddenly changed when a top member of ASUU delegation accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, of conspiring with other government officials instead of playing his role as chief conciliator he claimed.
A source privy to developments at the meeting stated that ASUU members had chided the minister and other government officials for coming behind schedule to the meeting contrary to the earlier time slated for 2p.m.
According to the source, “You scheduled a meeting for 2p.m., you came two hours after; you wasted our time, and you’re still here telling us to take an offer we had rejected. What kind of mess is that?
“See, you are talking to intellectuals, we will respect the constituted authorities as much as we can because that is what we teach in our various institutions. But you must stop taking us for granted and stop treating us like kids,” the source quoted the ASUU official to have said.
It was gathered that the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, had appealed to ASUU to receive their salaries through IPPIS platform, pending when UTAS will be ready after integrity test, but members of the union rejected the plea. They argued that IPPIS was not demonstrated to them before government started using it for workers, wondering why demonstration of UTAS should be a requisite for stoppage of their salaries.
ASUU was said to be adamant as members insisted that payment of their outstanding salaries could be made through on GIFMIS before full implementation of UTAS, but FG maintained that it must be on IPPIS.
Meanwhile, the union has directed all its members to reject IPPIS officials reportedly coming to various campuses on Monday for biometric data capturing of its members. An official letter, signed by ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, sent to all zonal coordinators and all its members, reiterated that the union would not jeopardise the ongoing critical engagement with federal government.
The letter read in part: “We have received information that IPPIS officials from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation will be visiting campuses as from Monday, October 19 for biometric data capture of academics.
“All ASUU members should have nothing to do with them. Fact-Check by ASUU with the figures from the OAGF has proven the claim that our members are trooping to enroll in the IPPIS in Abuja as false. The enrolled number is inconsequential.”