IPPIS: ASUU Members Face Bleak Christmas

  • FG is universities’ workers’ employer, says UNN
  • No pay, no work, Ibadan varsity lecturers tell FG

There were indications on Tuesday that  university lecturers, who failed to register for the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, might face a bleak Christmas as the Federal Government insisted on a directive of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on the payroll system.

The PUNCH gathered that the Federal Government was still insisting on its position that any of its employees, who failed to register for the IPPIS, would not be paid his salary.

The President had, while presenting the 2020 budget on October 8, directed all Federal Government employees to enrol for the IPPIS to ensure accountability and check fraud.

But the Academic Staff Union of Universities had kicked against the system, saying it violated the autonomy of universities.

Although the President said those who failed to register for the scheme would not be paid their October salaries, the Federal Government provided another opportunity for the workers.

It dispatched the IPPIS officers from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to the institutions between October 25 and November 7.

It directed all universities’ workers to make themselves available for the exercise within the period, but ASUU told its members to boycott the exercise.

The union last week threatened that its members would go on strike, if the Federal Government stopped salaries of lecturers, who failed to register for the IPPIS.

But a top officer of the IPPIS  in the Accountant General of the Federation Office told one of  our correspondents that registration for the IPPIS was a presidential directive, which must be complied with.

He said  the position of government on the full implementation of the payroll platform had not changed, adding that whoever failed to register for the scheme would not receive his December salary.

The officer said, “This is a presidential directive, we can’t implement it as we like. The President had two months ago issued a warning that anyone not on the IPPIS should not be paid and so whoever is not captured won’t get salary, it’s as simple as that.”

When contacted, the Director of Information in the Ministry of Finance, Mr Hassan Dodo, told The PUNCH that he had no information on the position of government on the payment of salaries to university workers.

FG will decide – OAU

At the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife,  the Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Olanrewaju, said only the Federal Government, which is the employer of university workers, could determine those who would be paid.

He said, “ASUU has a position on the issue of IPPIS already. It is the group that can say, if its members have registered for the IPPIS or not. The management is not responsible for payment of salaries. The Federal Government pays all staff. It will decide who gets paid and who will not.”

FG is  varsities’ workers’ employer – UNN

The University of Nigeria Nsukka, said that it was not within its powers to withhold salaries of lecturers.

It added that the IPPIS issue was not a UNN management decision, rather, that of the Federal Government, the employer of the lecturers.

The Public Relations Officer of the university, Chief Okwun Omeaku, while responding to The PUNCH enquiries, explained that the issue of withholding salaries of staff that were not enrolled on the IPPIS could only be responded to by Abuja.

He said, “Universities do not pay salaries. The Federal Government pays salaries. That is the controversy behind the IPPIS and that is why the Federal Government is insisting on what they want to do. No university pays salaries and because the Federal Government is the paymaster that is why it wants to centralise the payment system. The Federal Government is the paymaster.”

The UNN chapter of ASUU told The PUNCH that 153 out of over 4,000 members of the union had enrolled for the IPPIS at UNN as of Tuesday.

The ASUU branch Chairman, Dr. Christian Opata, who disclosed this in an interview with one of our correspondents, said that the academic union would  have no choice but to embark on a strike action if the salaries of their members were withheld.

We will react, when they act – UNN ASUU

He said, “Under the labour law, labour always reacts to management decision and so we cannot say this is going to be our decision until they react. It is only when they react that we respond, but the issue of strike is not ruled out because if you seize someone’s salary where they have worked then, the option is for the person not to work again.”

At the University of Calabar, Calabar, it was gathered that some members of the academic staff registered for the exercise secretly.

A source in the university said, “The deadline for the IPPIS registration had to be extended from December 7 to Friday, December 13 to enable all the non-academic staff to register.”

When asked what would happen to the academic staff who did not register, the source said, “That is left for the Federal Government to decide.”

Over 1,045 UNIPORT academic staff registered with IPPIS’

The spokesman for the University of Port Harcourt, Dr William Wodi, said over 1,045 academic staff had registered on the platform of IPPIS.

It was gathered that academic staff who registered consisted of members of ASUU and the Congress of Universities Academics. CONUA is a faction of ASUU.

Wodi told one of our correspondents that UNIPORT recorded 100 per cent registration of non-academic staff on the platform.

He, however, said that only the Federal Government would be able to decide what would happen to those who failed to register.

“I think that the Federal Government, through the IPPIS platform, will give directive on what will happen to those people who failed to register. In the University of Port Harcourt, all staff of the university, who are non-teaching staff are 100 percent registered,

“The academic staff of the university; whether they belong to ASUU or CONUA or neutral from both bodies; 876 have registered, while 169 of academic consultants have also registered,” Wodi said.

The Director, Public Communication,  University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Mr Olatunji Oladejo, said, “It is not an exercise that was initiated by the university, so it is not the university but the office of the Accountant General of the Federation that can say the kind of punishment that is awaiting the defaulters.”

No pay, no work, says UI ASUU

When contacted ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said he was in a meeting, but the union chairman in the UI, Professor Deji Omole, said, “Our position is very clear on what we will do if the Federal Government refuses to pay us salaries as being threatened. Our position tallies with that of the national body of the union. We would not work; we shall embark on strike and that is simple. We insist that we shall not be stampeded to register for the IPPIS and that is all.”

(The Punch)

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