By Frank Ikpefan, Abuja and Chris Oji, Enugu
The leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) appears to be heading for a showdown with the Federal Government over the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS).
The union of university lecturers yesterday prepared for another round of strike over threat by the government to stop the salaries of lecturers not yet enrolled on the new payroll system by month end. It threatened to invoke “no pay, no work” resolution to tackle the government.
The union said it took the decision after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at the Federal University of Technology, Minna, the Niger State capital, between December 7 and 8, 2019.
ASUU President Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, last night in Abuja, said the union had begun a nationwide mobilisation of its members for a showdown with the government over the payroll system. The union leader warned that ASUU members were on standby to shut down Federal universities, should the government stop their salaries at the end of this month.
He said: “We salute the courage of our members for resisting the tactics of the Accountant-General of the Federation to cunningly migrate them to IPPIS platform.
“As resolved at the ASUU-NEC meeting at FUT Minna on December 7 and 8, 2019, should the Accountant-General make bold his threat of stopping the salaries of our members, the union shall activate its standing resolution of ‘No Pay, No Work’.”
Ogunyemi said ASUU was not bothered that some of its members enrolled into the platform, adding that those involved would be sanctioned at the appropriate time, after due investigation.
He said the union’s NEC expressed dismay that the moves by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Finance to impose the IPPIS on Federal universities was part of government’s plan to distract ASUU from calling for the conclusion of the truncated re-negotiation of the 2009 Agreement as well as the full implementation of the February 7, 2019 Memorandum of Action (MoA) it reached with the union. Ogunyemi said the union had developed an alternative to IPPIS, a prototype platform called University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
Also, ASUU Chairman at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Dr Christian Opata, said 153 lecturers of the university have enrolled into the IPPIS.
Opata broke the news yesterday in Nsukka, Enugu State, at a media briefing on the outcome of the union’s National Executives Council (NEC) meeting in Minna, the Niger State capital.
He said out of the 153 lecturers, over 50 had indicated interest to withdraw their enrolment as they claimed that they registered out of misinformation.
“In this congress, I briefed members on the NEC’s last meeting in Minna in which ASUU leadership insisted that IPPIS is illegal and a complete violation of university autonomy and agreement between government and ASUU.
“During this congress today, over 50 lecturers, who have wrongly enrolled, said they will withdraw their enrolment in IPPIS immediately,” he said.
The union chairman said the congress agreed to publish the names of all the 153 lecturers who enrolled into IPPIS on UNN-ASUU notice board so that members would know them.
“ASUU-UNN will issue queries to these defaulting members as well as forward their names to national body for appropriate sanction. This is because ASUU national body said ‘no’ right from the beginning, that enrolment of IPPIS is a complete violation of university autonomy and illegal,” he said.
The ASUU boss said that the union was not bothered on Federal Government threat of ‘no work no pay’ as ASUU had been used to government threats.
“If government make good of its threat that academic staff that did not enrol will not receive salary ASUU has no option than to embark on nationwide indefinite strike.
“ASUU has told Government that if it wants its members to enrol in IPPIS the government should first amend the law creating public universities that granted them autonomy.
“ASUU is waiting on government final decision on IPPIS enrolment in public universities before the union will take its own final decision,” he said.