The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has accused some elements within and outside the government of trying to sabotage its efforts at resolving the impasse over the enrolment of its members on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS. ASUU also threatened to stop work if their members salaries are stopped.
Speaking in a chat with Vanguard on Sunday, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who was reacting to the possibility of his members not getting their salaries as from this month over the IPPIS face-off, stated that the latest memo from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation on the matter was uncalled for. Ogunyemi opined that after the leadership of the union met with President Muhammadu Buhari and later with the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu over the issue, the memo that originated from the AGFs Office threatening the stoppage of the salaries of university workers not on the IPPIS beginning from this month was needless.
“Some elements within and outside the government want to sabotage our efforts. After meeting with the President and the minister and another follow-up meeting has been planned to continue the dialogue, we are surprised with this memo and its timing.
“If the content of the circular is true and implemented and our members’ salaries are stopped, then we will have no choice other than to invoke our resolution of ‘no pay no work’,” he said.
Asked whether his union would foreclose any further dialogue with the government if other union members were paid salaries and ASUU excluded, Ogunyemi said even if industrial action takes place, ASUU would still be open to dialogue.
“ASUU is open to dialogue and we don’t want to destabilise the system or put the education of our children and wards in jeopardy and that is why we are making all these efforts at getting the best done for the system. We are convinced that our alternative to IPPIS is better,” he added.
Recall that a recent circular from the Director of IPPIS in the AGF’s Office, Mr Joshua Olufehinti, with reference number OAGF/IPPIS/19/11/54, was sent to the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, requesting the stoppage of the release of funds for January salaries to federal universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. Olufehinti said the step was necessary because his office was preparing the salaries and warrants for workers in the institutions based on those on the IPPIS and that the process would be completed on or before January 29, 2020.
ASUU and the FG have been at loggerheads over the IPPIS issue and when the government late last year ordered mandatory enrolment of federal university workers, ASUU members refused to enrol, saying their own Nigerian University Accountability and Transparency System, NUTAS, was better.
According to ASUU, NUTAS would be domiciled in each university, instead of IPPIS that is domiciled in the AGF office in Abuja. However other workers unions in the university system such as the Non-Academic Staff Union, NASU, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, and the Congress of University Academics, CONUA are in support of IPPIS.