The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, on Tuesday expressed optimism that university lecturers would return to the classroom on Wednesday.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on strike in February over the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and funding of universities in the country.
Nwajiuba, who featured on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme, said there was absolutely nothing stopping the lecturers from returning to the classrooms on Wednesday.
He also dismissed reports that the Federal Government has not paid the lecturers for eight months.
According to him, the federal government has done everything possible for the striking lecturers to return to the classrooms.
The minister said: “I have not said there is no way the government will not ever have a different application. But I am saying this is what we have now. The government will continually improve its service. If UTAS, as we go ahead, becomes even a better platform for everybody and they offer it free to government, of course, we are a responsive government, we will simply migrate to it.”
He, however, urged the striking lecturers to get on the IPPIS platform to get their salaries and return to the classrooms.
On the lecturers’ salaries, Nwajiuba added: “During the lockdown, we asked all our vice-chancellors across the country to give us the BVN of all of their people who are eligible for salaries which they did. The BVN marries with the IPPIS and they were migrated to the IPPIS and they were all paid. Of course, there may be people who didn’t submit at the time but that is being sorted out in the office of the accountant general.
“But I think it is a lie to say the government has not paid them in eight months. It will be unfair to the government.”
“The lecturers can go back in the classroom tomorrow if they say they want to go back. There is nothing withholding lecturers from going back to the classroom tomorrow. Absolutely nothing. Everything the government should do has been done. If you want your salaries, get on the platform, and collect your salaries.”
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