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ASUU threatens nationwide strike over IPPIS. Will Nigerian govt buckle under varsity lecturers’ threat?



ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday threatened to embark on a nationwide strike if varsity lecturers’ salaries are not paid before the month ends.

ASUU told the Federal Government the strike would reinforce members’ rejection of the Integrated Payment Personnel Information System (IPPIS), allegedly being forced on the lecturers by the current administration.

While speaking with journalists in Ibadan, the union’s Zonal Coordinator, Dr. Ade Adejumo, of the Ibadan Zone of ASUU comprising the University of Ibadan (UI), Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), University of Osun (UNIOSUN) and Kwara State University (KWASU), insisted on “no pay, no work” stance of the union and rejected the proposed enrolment of its members on the controversial IPPIS platform.

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He said: “The infallible reasons that our union painstakingly explained to government representatives during our interactions.

“This, unfortunately, appears to have fallen on deaf ears as the government has not only rolled out its propaganda machines against our union, but is also planning to ambush the union and force our members into this ill-informed platform.

“These ominous signs have now made it expedient for ASUU, as a responsible union of intellectuals, to puncture the lies sold to the public by the government, particularly the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation so that members of the public can better be informed about our position.

“You will agree that these are very critical ingredients to the survival of any university system that is seeking continued relevance in the highly competitive universal academic world.

“Sequel to this fact, government, conceding that the university is peculiar and different from the civil service, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, agreed to the autonomy of universities in Nigeria and signed into law the Universities Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment Act) in 2003.

“For emphasis, therefore, we now present detailed perspectives of our union’s rejection of the IPPIS to discerning members of the public.”

Adejumo said IPPIS violated the provisions of the law and that the union was appalled that government was losing sight of the law on the power vested in the councils to dispense the finances of the universities.

The federal government had insisted on its plan to enroll the university lecturers and all federal government workers in the IPPIS.

President Muhammadu Buhari had instructed the Accountant General of the Federation not to pay any government worker not captured on the platform by October 31.

He said the move was part of the federal government’s efforts at managing personnel costs in line with its fight against corruption.

According to him, all agencies of government must obtain permission and follow due process as they embark on any recruitment exercise.

He said: “We shall sustain our efforts in managing personnel costs.

“Accordingly, I have directed the stoppage of the salary of any Federal Government staff that is not captured on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform by the end of October 2019.

“All agencies must obtain the necessary approvals before embarking on any fresh recruitment and any contraventions of these directives shall attract severe sanctions.”

With this position of the President on the matter, it remain to be seen how far the university teachers latest threat will carry them.

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