The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Biodun Ogunyemi, has described as untrue, reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the stoppage of salaries of lecturers who failed to register on the Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
The union also said the federal government is considering its proposal of connecting the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) with IPPIS to address the peculiar cases of lecturers in the payment of salaries and other emoluments.
In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday afternoon, Mr Ogunyemi said he found it necessary to correct the wrong impression created by a section of the media that the meeting of ASUU with President Buhari on January 9, 2020, was called solely to discuss IPPIS which ASUU rejected, “and still rejects, for sound reasons.”
“At no point during the meeting did President Muhammadu Buhari put a closure to the ongoing discussion on ASUU’s preference for the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) or directed that the salaries of ASUU members to be stopped for failure to enrol on IPPIS,” he said.
He said the union has always argued that IPPIS crisis cannot be resolved without paying due attention to the foundational issues of autonomy and academic freedom, collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), and sustainable funding of education for the transformation of Nigeria.
According to the president, some of the issues raised with the president include, ASUU’s ongoing innovation of a more robust system of human resource management and compensation, called UTAS, which will address the peculiarities of universities and end inappropriate recruitments in the system.
“There is a need for the government to declare a Five-Year State of Emergency in the Education Sector. During this period, at least 6% of the GDP or 26% of the FGN Budget, as well as 26% of each State government budget, should be allocated to Education during this period,” Mr Ogunyemi said.
Mr Ogunyemi said the Minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed created the wrong impression that a substantial number of ASUU members had enrolled in IPPIS in defiance of the union.
“However, the minister failed to provide the ratio of academic to non-academic in her questionable data,” he said
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said out of the 137,016 academic and non-academic staff members of the universities, 96,090 have been enrolled in the Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
She, therefore, urged ASUU to encourage the remaining 40,926 members to comply with the process.
She said a desk has been opened in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation for registration of university staff, assuring that peculiarity of the tertiary institutions will be accommodated.
Six points ASUU discussed with FG
Mr Ogunyemi said ASUU made six demands at the meeting with President Buhari including the need for appropriate officers to obey universities’ laws and abide by collective bargaining agreements.
The second point is that there is a need for the implementation of all outstanding provisions of February 7, 2019, FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action.
Thirdly, the union said there is the need to re-commence and conclude the Re-negotiation of the 2009 FGN/ ASUU Agreement, based on ILO’s collective bargaining principles within the six-week timeframe originally set for it
Fourthly, the need for Mr Buhari, as the Visitor to the federal universities, to constitute and activate Visitation Panels to all universities and direct that the outcomes be fully implemented.
The fifth point is that government should welcome ASUU’s ongoing innovation of a more robust system of human resource management and compensation, called the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which will address the peculiarities of universities and end inappropriate recruitments in the system.
Finally, the union said the government needs to declare a five-year state of emergency in the education sector. During this period, at least 6 per cent of the GDP or 26 per cent of the FGN Budget, as well as 26 per cent of each state government budget, should be allocated to education.