In order to avoid the possibility of another prolonged strike action, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has reiterated the determination of the House to ensure the implementation of the latest agreement between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government.
This came in the wake of a reconciliation meeting convened by Speaker Gbajabiamila between the leadership of ASUU and the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), on Monday, in Abuja.
This was contained in a statement issued by Lanre Lasisi, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker.
The Speaker, during the meeting, emphasized that everything must be done to prevent lecturers from resuming the suspended strike action.
While thanking the ASUU leadership and the striking lecturers for returning to class based on trust from the intervention of the House, Gbajabiamila said the purpose of the meeting was to strike an understanding between ASUU and the AGF.
This was on the implementation of the agreement to accommodate the peculiarities of lecturers into the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), being a critical aspect of the agreement that led to the call-off of the 8-month strike by ASUU.
He said: “I thank you (ASUU) for the shifting base, as we asked you to, I thank you for the compromises that you made. We are here as an institution to make sure that whatever we had agreed is implemented as best as possible, if not to the letter.
“The main issue for discussion today, which was one of the major areas of conflict, was the issue of the payment platform. Whether or not, or how to deal with the issue of UTAS as opposed to IPPIS.
“If you recollect on that issue, we did agree that we will marry both, whilst IPPIS will remain the platform, that the government will bring in the aspects and the areas under UTAS that are specific to the universities and assimilate those areas into IPPIS, I believe that was what was agreed by both sides when we had our last two meetings.”
“We want to make sure that the box is ticked, and that it is not just an agreement on paper or that we said it for the purposes of moving towards the cancellation of the strike.”
Responding to queries from the Speaker, the AGF, Okolieaboh Sylva disclosed that his office was ready to work with the delegation from ASUU to implement the agreement.
He also revealed that it would likely take three months to clear the critical payment issues regarding the accommodation of the UTAS peculiarities into IPPIS.
On his part, ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke said ASUU was ready to be part of the payment system accommodation process while aligning with the set timeline for its completion.
The Speaker urged the ASUU leadership to have faith in the intervention and inclusion of the leadership of the House in the implementation of the new agreement with the government.
Gbajabiamila assured that the Chairman of the House Committee on Tertiary Education would be involved in the process leading to the implementation of the agreement.
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