The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has demanded the Government of Nigeria to pay members’ salaries as part of the conditions for suspending its ongoing strike.
Speaking at the University of Abuja University (UNIABUJA) unveiling of the union’s Transparency and Accountability Policy on Tuesday, ASUU National President Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said the change was crucial to further talks with the government on the ongoing industrial action.
Ogunyemi stated that its members at the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) and the Michael Opara University of Agriculture (MOUAU) were not paid approximately five months’ salaries by the Federation’s Accountant-General for failure to register with the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
He added that thousands of other academics across universities are suffering the same fate.
He said, “Thousands of other academics across the universities are suffering the same fate. So, while we counsel that government at both the federal and state levels must meet the task force specified guidelines for reopening of educational institutions, we insist that all the arrears of the withheld salaries of our members in federal and state universities must be paid immediately to pave for further discussion on the outstanding issues in the Memorandum of Action of February 7, 2019.”
The ASUU Chairman noted that the union had taken concerted steps towards achieving provisions of the IPPIS initiative with the UTAS.
He said that the software will cater to the peculiarities of universities in Nigeria both private and public.
“We had always promised that ASUU would produce a robust software solution that would be sensitive to the uniqueness of the university system in addressing personnel information and payroll system, among other things.
“Following our engagements with the Federal Government over the issues that eventually led to the declaration of the ongoing strike action on 17th March, 2020, the government declared that it accepts in principle the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, which is being developed by ASUU and its researchers for the financial administration of the university’s FG’s staff monthly payroll and accounting processes.
“In addition, the Federal Government pledged that when fully developed UTAS will be subjected to various integrity tests in order to verify its efficacy to see whether this final product will pass the necessary technical attribute test as specified by NITDA.
“On our part, ASUU had given a timeframe of 18 months to the government to develop, test, and deploy UTAS. In keeping with this promise, ASUU is pleased to announce that UTAS is now ready for the integrity tests required of it by the government. Indeed, the software was unveiled by way of demonstration to the minister and senior management staff of the Ministry of Education, including the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission yesterday, 17th August, 2020.
“We must however emphasise that UTAS is far more than just an alternative to IPPIS which does not respect the nature, structure, and character of the Nigerian university system.
“It was ill-advised, ab initio, to have deployed IPPIS in the universities. All the distortions and disruptions being reported within the university payrolls of federal universities in the last six months or so, even by those who initially welcomed IPPIS with open arms, were predicted by ASUU. Unlike IPPIS, however, the UTAS is a web-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application deployed for the overall management of university resources in an efficient, transparent, and accountable manner. It is developed to run on the concept of Software as a Service (SaaS), in which universities maintain sub-domains as tenants.
“Users are fully identified and authenticated for the purpose of gaining access to any of the aspects of the platforms such a user is appropriately authorised,” he added.
It is our sincere hope that the government would not renege on its promise because the benefits of UTAS to the university system (both public and private) cannot be found in any other software in Nigeria today. Now that the union is close to meeting the government’s demand on an alternative to IPPIS, it is our sincere hope that the substantive issues in the ongoing strike action would be given the desired attention,” he said.
ASUU had in March declared an indefinite strike, citing the Nigerian Government’s failure to meet its demands.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called on the Federal Government to ensure the speedy conclusion of the renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement and other salient issues. The call was made on Tuesday by ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi in a bulletin.
The completion of the renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement, the union stressed, will birth new conditions of service, enhanced salaries for Nigerian academics and improved infrastructure for all public varsities. The academic union, through, the Chairman University of Ibadan Chapter, Professor Ayo Akinwole clarified that the ongoing strike is hinged on getting revitalization fund and unpaid earned academic allowances.
He also added that it would ensure that the government sets up and conduct visitation to universities, address the proliferation of state universities and issues of governance in them. Professor Ogunyemi noted that “efforts by agents of the government to derail the strike-through deflection of IPPIS contraption and denial of salaries had failed because the union was fighting a just cause”
The ASUU leader stressed that his members had remained resolute to get a better working environment and conditions of service, despite unpaid salaries of thousands of academics by the Federal Government and payment of distorted and amputated salaries to thousands of ASUU members. According to the union, the 11-year old current slave-like salary structure whose agreement was reached in 2009 took a struggle which started in 2006 to actualize eventually in 2009.
While assuring members that issue surrounding the payment of distorted or withheld salaries shall be resolved, it maintained that the current strike was to ensure that Nigerian children attend the best public varsity education and have the best of facilities and infrastructure that can compete globally. It condemned the Governments for allegedly adopting what it described as a herd-immunity approach to the fight against COVID-19 pandemic just as it appealed to ASUU members to “intensify community information, education, communication to support and promote the guidelines as well as deepen research and innovation activities in the community transmission phase of COVID-19”.
“One of our principal demands in the ongoing struggle is the resumption and speedy completion of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement which has dragged for more than three years.” ” It is only through renegotiation that the overdue review of our conditions of service, which include enhanced salaries could be achieved. Any further delay can no longer be tolerated”. “Let’s remember that the current salary structure was a product of efforts like the ongoing struggle between 2006 and 2009. Our demands also include outstanding demands in the 2019 FGN-ASUU MoA.”
“Recent reports show that seasoned academics with special skills in the employ of various universities on contract basis are now being disengaged as directed by IPPIS operators”. “This leaves students of the disengaged contract staff in great jeopardy. If Nigerian universities can no longer make decisions about the calibre and number of academics they require to deliver quality education, what is left of the university autonomy and academic freedom”, ASUU queried.
Earlier: ASUU Kicks as Federal Govt Sacks Contract Lecturers
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Friday said the “forced enrolment of university lecturers” in the Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System platform by the Federal Government has resulted in the sacking of contract scholars across higher institutions.
ASUU cited the Bayero University, Kano State, and the Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State, where the disengagement of contract lecturers had already been carried out.
It warned that such moves undermined the university autonomy to recruit competent local and foreign scholars, as was the global practice.
The ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, stated these in an interview with our correspondent, adding that lecturers at the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, and the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, had yet to receive their February and March salaries.
Ogunyemi said, “There are still two universities which had not got their salaries – Michael Okpara University and the University of Maiduguri. What we also suspected has now been confirmed; they forcefully moved our members to the IPPIS and consequently, contract staff have been sacked. And the disengagement of the contract staff is a disservice to the Nigerian university system as we have it today.
“The first problem with that is that it is going to rob our universities of the high calibre human resources in certain areas. These are areas where we have a scarcity of personnel. If I ask you, how many professors of neurosurgery do we have in Nigeria? I don’t think they are more than five, and universities have to produce neurosurgeons.
“These are the people who have to train a new crop of academics because it takes a professor to produce a professor. So, when you dispose of their services, you have cut off that chain of continuity.
“The disengagement has started in Federal University, Wukari, and the BUK, Kano. By doing that, IPPIS is creating a problem by appropriating the powers of the council in terms of employment, promotion, and disengagement of the people in the system.”
Reacting to ASUU’s comments, the Federal Ministry of Education said some universities were fraudulent in their employment of contract staff, noting that the government needed to reduce the huge personnel costs that burdened universities.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Mr Ben Goong, said, “I don’t know what they meant by expert hands. IPPIS is being implemented by the Ministry of Finance and Budget Planning. They have nothing to do with the employment of staff in universities.
“By October and November 2019, universities engaged so many staff; they were fraudulent about staff engagement and a university that has 5,000 staff will say they have 7,000 staff and you have this huge personnel cost that was pushed to the universities. Virtually, most universities are guilty of this.”
Earlier: Federal Govt. Threatens to Sue Striking Lecturers
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has indicated the federal government’s intention to drag the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) before the National Arbitration Panel and even the National Industrial Court (NIC) if the union fails to respond to invitation for negotiations.
He urged the striking lecturers to take the opportunity of a recent invitation by the federal government to return to the roundtable.
The minister said he had invited the leadership of the union for a zoom meeting, but they insisted on meeting him face-to-face.
“I invited ASUU for a zoom meeting in compliance with World Health Organisation (WHO) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) COVID-19 guidelines, but they insisted on meeting me face-to-face. We have labour laws,” he said.
But ASUU said negotiations via zoom would not produce the desired solution to the lingering dispute.
The union added that for it to suspend the strike, the federal government must make substantial progress in addressing its key demands, which include payment of arrears of earned allowances, revitalisation fund and constituting visitation panels for federal universities.
However, Ngige warned that if the union refuses to come for talks, the federal government might invoke the labour laws to compel its response.
He said: “The law permits the federal government to take the union to the National Arbitration Panel and even the National Industrial Court.”
According to a statement by his media aide, Mr. Emmanuel Nzomiwu, the minister spoke in his hometown, Alor, Anambra State, where he donated palliatives worth N15 million to vulnerable households to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on them.
He said the ASUU strike was all about the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), adding that “any other reason given by ASUU is an excuse.”
Ngige accused the leadership of the union of deceiving the members and not telling them the truth.
“We have a hierarchy of arbitration. There is the National Arbitration Panel. If I am tired, I can refer it to the National Arbitration Panel. If I am tired, I can refer it to the National Industrial Court. The better thing for them is to come and negotiate on a first-hand basis where we are not bringing an external arbitrator,” Ngige said.
The minister described the position of ASUU in the dispute with the federal government as laughable, saying “as an employee, you lack the right to dictate for your employers how to receive wages.”
“It is even in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention on wages. You cannot dictate for your employers how to pay you. But the important thing is for your salaries and wages to come to you. As a workman, you receive your payment as compensation for services rendered. So, that is on the statute everywhere. But for some strange reasons, this has been an issue with the Academic Staff Union of Universities. Why? They claimed that they are being migrated from the GFMIS (Government Integrated Financial Management Information (GFMIS) platform to the IPPIS),” he stated.
Ngige said the federal government had complained that it was losing a lot of money paying lecturers from the GFMIS platform, which only transmits money for their salaries to the university system through the bursar’s office, from where they are paid.
“The anomalies are that one, some of the people are ghost workers. They don’t exist at all but their names exist and they are drawing money from the federal government.
“Some people receive more than their due, because after the salaries, some who are teaching in various other universities are supposed to take 50 per cent as extra pay for teaching in that other universities and the maximum universities, they should teach is two. Some teach in three, some teach in four universities.
“Again, the taxes that are being deducted by your bursar and your vice-chancellors are not reflective of the taxes of PAYE (Pay As You Earn). They are not and because they are not, the shortfall of the taxes that are deducted, the various state governments where the universities are domiciled have petitioned the Joint Tax Board (JTB) to demand the shortfalls,” Ngige added.
The minister said over time, the shortfalls in tax deduction accumulated to over N800 billion and JTB (Joint Tax Board) penalised the federal government for these monies not paid to the states.
He added that the federal government from the office of Accountant General of the Federation paid over N800 billion to states.
According to him, the uncompromising attitude of ASUU in the dispute is worrisome to the federal government.
He said not minding that the strike, which commenced on March 9 did not follow due process, he brought the lecturers to a roundtable with the Federal Ministry of Education and the Accountant General of the Federation.
“We had discussions and they now said that some of the agreements we had in Memorandum of Action 2019, were not implemented vigorously and we agreed that they will be paid N25 billion for their earned academic allowances and another N25 billion for revitalisation of university system.
“The federal government paid the first tranche of N50 billion, N25 billion, and N25 billion.
“Thereafter, there was the issue of national minimum wage. Flowing from national minimum wage, there was the issue of consequential adjustment on that minimum wage, which cost the federal government N160 billion. I negotiated it.
“The federal government had to pay retroactively with effect from when the president signed the National Minimum Wage Act. So, the federal government could not pay ASUU the next tranche of N25 billion because it was due to be paid in October last year. They said there was a breach.
“We said we are owing and that we can pay for it. So, we restructured it and agreed that the government can pay them N20 billion and another N20 billion for earned academic allowances between April 2020 and May. We all agreed,” Ngige said.
The minister said the federal government even agreed to test the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) system proposed by ASUU to encourage Presidential Order 5 on local production, but the union asked for 18 months to enable its researchers to conclude work on it.
He said the government recommended that ASUU should migrate to the IPPIS while waiting for their researchers to conclude work on UNTAS and bring it for integrity test for all parties to agree, but the union rejected the proposal.
We Are Ready to Negotiate with FG – ASUU President
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has stated that the union had not refused an invitation from the government for negotiation during its ongoing strike and that the allegations of N800 billion by the Minister of Labour and Employment were baseless.
The ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, stated these in response to the statement by the Minister of Labour and employment, Ngige
According to the President of ASUU, the union has never declined an invitation to a negotiation meeting with the government. He said what the union asked government representatives to do was to send a response to the last letter the union sent to them. ” How can they claim to have invited us to a meeting without a clear agenda or any letter of invitation?” He queried.
On the N800 billion allegation, the ASUU president described the allegation as pure mischief stating that the union is thoroughly embarrassed that such reckless and baseless allegation could be credited to the Minister of Labour and Employment.
“In the first place, is ASUU responsible for the management of the payroll and personnel information in the universities? Secondly, how many of those responsible for the so-called “double payments” have the government apprehended, tried, and jailed to serve as deterrents?” He said.
Earlier: FG Directs ASUU to Suspend Strike Before Next Negotiation
The federal government has called on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to suspend its ongoing strike before talks over the union’s grievances which led to the strike will resume. This call was made by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige.
According to him, the federal government has demonstrated enough goodwill by paying salaries of the striking lecturers and urged them to discontinue their strike to allow for peaceful negotiations of their dispute.
The Minister mentioned that he has made efforts to reach out to ASUU for negotiation but due to the lockdown, such has not been possible.
The minister explained that there are two reasons why ASUU should call off the strike. The first reason is that government has shown goodwill and has offered olive branch by releasing the salaries of the university lecturers without any conditions.
The second is that it is immoral and despicable for those who should be conducting research as Nigerians for the discovery of new drugs and medical equipment that will be used during COVID-19 period to say that they are at home playing Ludo and Draft and other games.
“Even if schools are not open, ASUU members, especially researchers, are supposed to be going into their laboratories, going to botanic gardens to get some shrubs and other plants to be used in producing drugs during this COVID-19 outbreak.
“Those who are pharmacologists, who are in the electronics department and software engineers, this is the time for research to manufacture ventilators or make some inventions. It is unpatriotic for them to even continue saying that they are on strike at this time. They should not be saying it,” he said.
The minister also asked those complaining about some shortcomings in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information Systems (IPPIS) in the tertiary institutions that the issues would soon be satisfactorily addressed.
He said: “When IPPIS was introduced in the federal civil service, these hiccups were there. It took some time before they were rectified. We were being thorough. When I was in the National Assembly, we were complaining but the good thing is that the IPPIS desk in the Accountant General’s Office is listening and they are addressing the issues. It will be rectified and once this is done, they will pay the arrears or deductions,” he stated.
Earlier: ASUU Rejects Meeting With FG Via Zoom, Explains Why
The president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, has disclosed that the union has been unable to hold a physical meeting with the Federal Government due to the pandemic. He also explained that the union refused to hold meeting via Zoom platform with the Federal Government’s representatives, saying such meetings would not yield any tangible result as it would be difficult to control.
According to ASUU President, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, invited the union to a meeting in Abuja, as a response to union’s last official correspondence to him where the union rejected the submission of their Bank Verification Numbers as a condition for payment of lecturers’ outstanding salaries.
However, the union delegates were unable to go for the meeting due to the current lockdown which led the minister to suggest that both parties meet via Zoom platform. he stated that the union refused because such meeting cannot yield any positive result when most of their physical meetings in the past ended in a stalemate. He said the union is waiting for things to return to normal for a physical meeting to be possible.
He acknowledged that the government has indeed paid salaries of some members of the union, but not all. “Many of our members are yet to get their salaries as of Monday, and some of those who had even been paid were not paid in full. We are collating data to enable us know those affected,” he said.
He said though that salaries are not their major demand from the government but the implementation of the last Memorandum of Action to re-engineer the nation’s public university education.
The ASUU president said no member of the union submitted BVN before payment of their salaries.
“We knew submission of our BVN would lead to our forceful participation in the Integrated and Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) of the Federal Government and we still stand against the policy,” he declared.
Earlier: Strike Continues Even If FG Pays February and March Salaries – ASUU President
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has stated that its strike action will continue despite the president’s order that the February and March 2020 withheld salaries of lecturers in federal universities be paid. The Federal Government had earlier withheld the lecturers’ salaries over their refusal to register in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
According to the National President of ASUU, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, lecturers would not resume work because the strike was not only about IPPIS; however, the payment of salaries will pave the way for a meaningful dialogue with the Federal Government.
The ASUU president said paying the lecturers was not a favour, adding that “Members worked in February and we were still working in March before this coronavirus pandemic broke. It is expected that a labourer is paid his wages. Even as we are talking, people are supposed to be prepared to get their April salary.”
Prof. Abiodun also frowned at and rejected the demand of the FG that lecturers submit their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) as part of conditions for the payment of their February and March salaries. He said previously that ASUU members were paid without asking for their BVN so the union is suspecting that this is an indirect way to get ASUU back to IPPIS.
Earlier: This ASUU Strike Is Unjustifiable
Today, not only Nigerians but the generality of the world, are advised to stay at home as one of the best precautionary measures against the pandemic COVID-19 virus. Human lives are lost in an alarming number as a result of this pandemic. As we stay at home, an opportunity is available to all of us to reflect on our actions and inactions.
Part of what came to my mind is a reflection of the present “comprehensive and indefinite strike action” embarked by our Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). This strike came up after a review of the two- week warning strike of March 9, 2020 and the National Executive Council (NEC) consideration of the proposals made by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) of March 21, 2020.
As a financial member of ASUU, I also had the opportunity to access these proposals by our government. Not only this, but part of my primary assignment as a faculty in a university setting is also the analysis of results of research findings presented to me by my undergraduate and graduate students. It is only if this is done satisfactorily that a student would proceed to discuss his findings.
The proposals presented were numbered i to ix, and after each presentation, a stand was taken by our executive. For clarity sake, I shall represent a summary and decisions of the NEC on the proposals as follows: Funding for the revitalisation of public universities After much deliberation, the government proposed that by August 31, 2020, the document on sustainable funding of education would have been activated – necessary approvals secured, laws requiring amendment would have been drafted and sent to the National Assembly for processing.
The NEC observed that the document did not in any way refer to the 2019 FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The ASUU demanded a clear timeline for the phased release of the outstanding balance of about N1.1trillion based on 2013 MoU between the FG and ASUU. It was also observed that the “sign of commitment” to the 2013 MoU should not be less than one tranche of the outstanding balance, which is N220billion. Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).
It was agreed that government should work towards meeting the EAA obligation that was due for payment in November 2019. That government shall release N20bn for the payment of EAA on or before April 15, 2010. The NEC did not object. Salary shortfall Government stated that the ES, NUC and the Ministry of Education would cross-check with the vice chancellors of affected universities, verify the claims and process further. A timeframe of two weeks was given for this process. The NEC did not object.
Government agreed with the proposal from ASUU that the union be supported to address the NEC and promised that a meeting would be scheduled, latest at the end of the second quarter of 2020.
The NEC did not object. Payment of EAA to loyal ASUU members in the University of Ilorin Both parties are satisfied with the progress made on this issue. The NEC did not object.
Government noted that the non-existence of a board for PenCom has occasioned the delay in issuing the final license. The NUPEMCO Board was asked to write a letter to PenCom, requesting for issuance of certificate or renewal of the provisional license. The NEC did not object. Visitation panels Government proposed that the visitation panels would commence work at the end of the second quarter of 2020. The NEC did not object. Reconstitution of the government renegotiating team.
The renegotiation of the FGN-ASUU agreement of 2009 has resumed. Both sides hoped the process would be successfully concluded. The NEC, however, noted with regret that the government team had suspended indefinitely, the planned meeting on account of COVID-19 pandemic.
Government accepts ASUU’s proposal on the UTAS with the given timelines of full implementation for the period of 18 months. In view of this, the Federal Government appealed to ASUU members to enroll on the IPPIS within the intervening period before the full development of the UTAS. And they shall be migrated to the UTAS when fully developed.
Government made a commitment that no one would miss their legitimate earning as a result of enrolment on the IPPIS platform. Furthermore, government would make special arrangements for the immediate payment of those staff not yet captured on the IPPIS platform and were being owed February salaries and other allowances, upon commencement of enrolment on IPPIS platform. At this point, and surprisingly, ASUU rejected the application of force on members to join the IPPIS irrespective of the patriotic evidence of offering the UTAS as an alternative.
Based on the foregoing review, our NEC went ahead to declare a total and indefinite strike action, beginning on Monday, March 23, 2020. This appears contrary to our modus operandi in taking decision for strike action. With over 15 years as a university lecturer, most resolutions by ASUU NEC are brought to congress for deliberations and resolution. At the end of these meetings, resolutions are put to vote and the results are collated to the NEC for computation and final decision. But, unfortunately, this time around, it was a haste and unilateral decision to embark on strike by the National Council. Ironically, for months now, our colleagues in the Faculty of Medicine, who are also in the teaching hospitals, have been collecting part of their salaries through the IPPIS.
But, our ASUU has never objected to that. We can clearly see that our ASUU NEC has already scored these proposals from the Federal Government 66.7per cent. By our standard in the Nigerian tertiary institution grading scale, this should be certified at a very good level. So, this pass mark makes the stand of ASUU NEC on strike action unjustifiable.
The generality of Nigerians believe and accept that our universities are grossly underfunded. But as university academics we need to extend a hand of friendship to ensure collaborative researches with clear indices of human development. Our university managements have a big role to play in providing seed funding from part of their internally generated revenues to kick-start some good research proposals from staff and students. I personally witnessed a confirmation of the Federal Government that the IPPIS would assist in arresting corruption in our ivory towers and the civil service.
Last December, when the IPPIS officials came to my university to register/enroll staff members, we saw rushed recruitment of new staff without following due process. But in reality, before this exercise, many departments had been making case for additional teaching staff recruitment. For instance, I took a class of more than 500 students, and as a science subject, I had to also conduct practical sessions. What can someone say about management of a class like this? This is common to most courses in our Nigerian universities.
The development of the UTAS as an alternative to the IPPIS should be seen by the government as a commendable effort. But, we know that software development deployment and final development will always have to take a timeframe before final implementation. My university has developed and implemented a software on examination, called ExamLogic, but you find that at some instances we have to refer back to our colleagues that developed the software to resolve some emerging issues. My take on this is that the timeframe implementation should be initiated until we finally migrate from the IPPIS to UTAS. Based on history, we have already had a similar experience with the new pension policy of the Federal Government.
Today, we have the NUPEMCO, which takes care of our pension issues. One other point to note is that the Federal Government should in future look inward for some of its development policies. If ASUU can, within few months, be able to develop the UTAS, then there is no point in awarding a contract in IPPIS development. Using our local human and material resources in this and other related issues would go a long way in improving our capacity.
Finally, and based on my analysis, the present total strike is uncalled for and did not follow the required due process in an academic setting. I urge our congress to get registered with the IPPIS while the sequential migration to the UTAS from the IPPIS should be judiciously pursued. As an ASUU member, I will be proud in the future to have given my contribution in the effort of our government to kill the corruption pandemic in our country, Nigeria. May the almighty Allah see us through the COVID-19 pandemic that is threatening the existence of human race.
is an associate professor in the Department of Botany, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities says it ordered its members, who are lecturers across universities, to embark on strike during the coronavirus pandemic because there would never be a time approved for such an action.
The President, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, on Tuesday, also inaugurated ASUU COVID-19 intervention in an effort to sensitise the public and check the spread of the dreaded virus at the University of Ibadan.
The intervention materials, produced by the UI branch of ASUU, comprised about 1,000 100ml of hand sanitisers. The programme included sensitisation campaign, via jingles in Pidgin and English languages; posters in three languages and hand gloves.
Ogunyemi, who was represented on the occasion by the coordinator of ASUU, UI zone, Prof. Ade Adejumo, said, “We cannot confront the challenge by bemoaning our fate. What is expected is that we join forces to do what China and other well-organised societies have done to flatten the curve.
“ASUU acknowledges that public information, education and communication are key. To demonstrate our concerns for the welfare and well-being of the Nigerian people, ASUU members nationwide shall be willing to work with medical and paramedical workers as volunteers in their public enlightenment and professional intervention initiatives.
“All branches shall explore areas of strategic collaboration with federal, state and local governments to provide support in terms of information and expert skills drawn from our members across the nation. For us in ASUU, this is not an occasion for blame game or buck passing. However, it calls for sober reflection on what we need to do differently with our health and education.”
Ogunyemi said the coronavirus crisis had exposed the country’s “naked and empty teaching hospitals” which justified its industrial action to demand revitalisation funds for public universities.
He, however, said the union would be willing to serve as volunteers nationwide in the coronavirus crisis to work with the medical and paramedical workers involved in tackling the scourge.
He said, “With qualitative and accessible university education, we can guarantee a storehouse of knowledge in scientists, doctors, nurses, laboratory technologists and other medical and paramedical personnel for coping with a global pandemic such as COVID-19. But it appears our universities have no place in the current efforts of government.
“See, for instance, how naked and empty our teaching hospitals turned out to be when threatened by the early wave of COVID-19. Yet, these are laboratories established to produce medical and paramedical personnel for our country.”
The Chairman, ASUU, UI, Prof. Ayo Akinwole, said despite being owed two months’ salary, the union would not abandon its people.
He said the intervention materials would be distributed to the University College Hospital, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, the university health centre and the Oyo State Ministry of Health.
Akinwole said, “It is not surprising that our health facilities were not equipped and staffed to respond to emergencies such as the Coronavirus pandemic. All kits donated by Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma Foundation, must be distributed to medical centres to conduct more tests.
“ASUU has always argued against the underfunding of education and health. Nigerians should demand that government must release funds to public hospitals to scale up their response to the disease. This can be done through provision of funding for laboratories in Nigerian universities to mass-produce hand sanitisers, face masks and oxygen plants.”
Earlier: We Are On Strike Because Federal Govt. Abandoned Logic For Force — ASUU President
After a two-week warning strike, members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, last Monday, started an indefinite strike to press home their demands. In this interview, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, talks about some of the issues in contention.
Why is it that your grouse against government has always been the same? Is it that government has not met any of your demands?
No. Our demands are not exactly the same things. The last time government came up with the Treasury Single Account, TSA, and we raised some issues about it, especially funds for research, donations to universities among others, they agreed.
We called for the renegotiation of our agreement and they agreed. And we have had no problem about those issues. However, some issues appear to be constant in recent times like the revitalisation of the university system, Earned Academic Allowances, proliferation of universities, setting up of Visitation Panels to federal universities among others.
Those ones have been constant because they have timelines for addressing them and government is not doing anything about them. If government is supposed to release 25 percent of the money needed to fund an aspect of the agreement by November 2019 and the government did not do anything, and they did not even call us to give any explanation.
To me that smacks of arrogance. The revitalisation that ought to be done in 2018, has not been done. So, we have to take it up again.
The issue of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS, was first brought up in 2013 and we rejected it then and we told them that we could help develop a better and credible alternative.
In 2014, we started work on the Nigerian University Transparency and Accountability System, NUTAS. The government did not say anything about the IPPIS until last November.
Meanwhile, in 2014, we started work on our alternative to IPPIS and have committed some funds to it, but when the government did not say anything about IPPIS for five years, we too stopped work on what we were working on.
We thought the government had reasoned with us that IPPIS cannot work in the university system.
This is because of the peculiarities of the university system.
The government has escalated the matter with the stoppage of our members’ salaries. For two months now, our members have not been paid their salaries.
We have a better and more credible alternative to IPPIS, but for us to get our alternative working will take some time and money.
Is going on strike at this time appropriate?
I don’t know when it will be appropriate to go on strike. Nigerians have not told us when to go on strike. If you stop the salary of people and deploy hunger as a weapon of war against such people, the union cannot keep quiet.
We started warning strike two weeks before the panic mode we are in. When we started the warning strike, if the government had called us and released at least one month salary to our members, we would have got a platform to meet, may be discuss and negotiate. Now, people have worked for two months and you have paid some workers and did not pay a section.
Forget their claim that they have captured over 90 percent of lecturers on the IPPIS, if that is the case, they would have ignored us. They have left logic of reason for logic of force. People that are hungry, how do I tell them not to go on strike.
Within our own limited resources, we have purchased some items and we are going to intervene in the Coronavirus issue we have at hand.
We have members who are in the medical field and we will be fully involved as we will embark on ASUU COVID 19 Intervention Programme.
Our strike is not to work against containing Coronavirus. Schools are on break now, we are not attacking students and we are only fighting for our rights.
If you were in the shoes of the government, what would you do?
There is a lockdown of the country and why should a government say a group of workers should not be paid. Such a development has made our members embittered.
Why should the government ask people to enrol in a programme that is not feasible. Such things and policies are not just workable and holding to them is not reasonable. Government does not need to stick to a policy that is not good.
What corruption are they fighting? The money they have released for this Coronavirus issue, who will account for them?
We lack the resources and cannot do rapid response like China did and which made it to overcome the Coronavirus pandemic.
China was able to do that because of the quality of education and the intellectual storehouse they have. Do we even have laboratories that are functional?
Is NUTAS no longer being integrated into IPPIS? What happened to the dialogue between ASUU and government on the issue?
In 2013, when they came up with IPPIS, we started work on our own alternative, but they did not talk about IPPIS for five years and we have spent about N5 million on NUTAS and last year when they came up with IPPIS, we had to be sure it would not be a wasted effort.
We depend on the contributions of our members to do anything and we need millions of naira to develop the application. Our dialogue with them broke down because they want to use IPPIS as a booby trap for us.
They are saying that they would want us to be on IPPIS first and that after NUTAS is developed and they are convinced, they would allow us to go back and be on our NUTAS, but are they going to allow that to happen?
Now, apart from finance, it is going to take us over a year before NUTAS could be operational. We can see that they are only trying to lure us into IPPIS.
Is ASUU not trying to use state universities to fight its battle against the introduction of IPPIS?
Our members who are sufficiently knowledgeable about our struggles know what we are fighting for. The Memorandum of Action signed with the government on February 7, 2019, had timelines attached for the implementation of some items.
For instance, the setting up of Visitation Panels for federal universities was fixed for March 2019, release of the first tranche of money was slated for November 2019.
Interactions of ASUU with state governors was also on the list and had a timeline. Review of the conditions of service for all universities was on the list too.
The government did not meet any of the timelines. They only brought the issue of IPPIS to distract us. IPPIS is not the main issue. We still have better funding of education and many others.
Few days ago, the non-academic staff came out to express dissatisfaction with the implementation of IPPIS and threatened strike, has that not justified your union’s opposition to it?
Well, may be they are just seeing what we have seen about IPPIS long time ago. When the government brought IPPIS and our comrades in the non-academic sector went their own way, we felt there was no problem as we have different mandates to defend and promote. We were concerned those things would happen.
Look at what happened to the police and others already enrolled. Some policemen had to threaten Industrial action over the manner they butchered their salaries.
They have been working on the IPPIS for over 10 years and the system is still fraught with irregularities.
The university system operates flexible payroll system because of the Inflow and outflow of lecturers. Let the government tell us where the IPPIS has worked in the university system anywhere in the world.
The World Bank designed the IPPIS for the civil service and not for the university system.
Initially, both academic and non-teaching staff shared the same view on IPPIS before the issue of the sharing of Earned Academic Allowances came up and ASUU was accused of shortchanging the non-teaching staff, what actually happened?
It is not correct to say N100 billion was released and that ASUU took 80 percent. The government did not release more than N25 billion at a time. I don’t want us to go into areas of differences between our union and others.
We have different mandates and we should not work as rivals. It is unfortunate if other unions see us as their problem, they are the ones seeing us as foes, we don’t see them as such.
Most of the things everybody in the university system benefit from are products of ASUU’s agitation. In 2013, when the Earned Academic Allowances were paid, ASUU members lost out because we were on strike then and the non-teaching staff had a field day allocating and awarding huge sums to themselves.
They are our comrades and we are not rivals.
Earlier: ASUU Commences Indefinite Strike
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, on Monday, declared an indefinite strike over the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System and the non-implementation of the 2009 agreement.
The union’s National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, announced the strike at a press briefing in its National Secretariat, Abuja.
He noted that the government failed to address the issues raised.
ASUU had on Monday, March 9, 2020, declared a two-week warning strike.
Earlier: IPPIS Not The Only Reason For The Strike – Union President
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) was not the only reason for which the union embarked on the ongoing two-week warning strike.
Again, FG, ASUU fail to reach an agreement as govt makes new proposal ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, on Wednesday said other issues which led to the industrial action include Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it had with the federal government in 2009, 2013, 2017 and Memorandum of Action (MoA) in 2019. Other issues concerning its members which are yet to be addressed by the government are the visitation panel report, mainstreaming of salaries, revitalisation of universities, and earned academic allowances.
But Prof. Biodun lamented that outstanding issues as contained in the MoA were overshadowed by the issue of the IPPIS. He said: “IPPIS is not the only issue. We did say last time that we had a memorandum of action that we are tracking. What that means to us is that government actually ignited the ongoing crisis. Not when government introduced IPPIS and tried to scale it through dialogue but when it resorted to the use of force.”
He added that “Government officials courted the crisis by stopping the payment of salaries of our members citing Mr President’s budget speech as a directive, and they insists that universities must enrol in IPPIS platform at a time we thought we were engaging ourselves.” Recall that the FG and the ASUU had on Thursday, last week reached an interim agreement to integrate both the IPPIS with University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) after proper review.
After over 8 hours of meetings between the FG and the ASUU on Tuesday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige said the Federal Government had tabled a new proposal regarding the impasse over the Integrated Payroll Personal Information System (IPPIS) enrolment for members of the union.
“Some of these issues that are outstanding, the ASUU’s team will take them back to their bigger council to be on the same page with them before they get back to the government. “We have also agreed that the tentative time to get back to the government would be before the week runs out.
We expect ASUU to get back to the government in writing and if there is a need for other meetings on that, you’ll be informed,” Ngige said. Prof. Ogunyemi had, in his remark, noted that they have improved on where they stopped in the previous meeting. He said that they had what they can call “concrete proposals to our members.”
“But, as we usually say, those of us here can’t make a final pronouncement on any of the proposals. We have assured the government’s team that we will report faithfully to our principals and get back to government accordingly,” the ASUU President said. However, at the end of the meeting, both the FG and ASUU did not reveal to journalists what the proposal was. Daily Trust reports that the two-week warning strike, which the union declared, will elapse on Monday next week.
Earlier: Strike Continues As FG Offers Lecturers New Proposal
The two weeks warning strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities will still continue despite government’s new proposals to the lecturers.
ASUU began the strike on March 9, 2020 after a disagreement with the Federal Government over Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System and other issues relating to university funding.
The leadership of ASUU and that of Federal Government delegation met at the Ministry of Labour and Employment for about eight hours on Tuesday, after which ASUU president, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, said that no pronouncement would be made until after presenting the new government proposals to members of the union.
At the meeting were the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige; Minister of State at the ministry, Festus Keyamo (SAN); Executive Secretary of the National University Commission; Minister of State for Education; Accountant General of the Federation; Permanent secretaries in the ministries of labour and that of education.
Earlier: FG, ASUU Currently in a Crucial Meeting Over IPPIS
The Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are currently holding a crucial meeting over the two-week warning strike embarked upon by the university lecturers.
The union had last week Monday declared a two-week warning strike over the non-payment of salaries to their members who failed to enroll into the federal government’s Integrated Payroll Personal Information System (IPPIS).
The meeting is currently holding at the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige. The minister noted that the meeting would be divided into two sessions, namely the open session and the technical session. In attendance at the meeting are Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; the Minister of Education (State), Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and the ASUU delegation led by its president, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi.
Other issues which are yet to be addressed by the Federal Government includes the revitalisation of University, Earned Academic allowances. Recall that Ngige had last Thursday adjourned the meeting, saying that conditions were put in place to merge both the IPPIS prototype and the UTAS developed by ASUU. Both parties were expected to reconvene today after wider consultations from both sessions.
Earlier: Federal Government to Meet with Lecturers Today
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) and the federal government will again meet today, Tuesday, to resolve the ongoing warning strike by the lecturers.
The meeting was confirmed by senior officials of the union Monday night.
“We will be meeting with the federal government by 3p.m.,” an official said.
Also, according to one the sources, “the federal government has not paid our salaries, however, they have paid those who are enrolled on IPPIS.
“This is a warning strike but if it is not resolved, we will proceed to indefinite strike. The workers cannot be asked to go back to work without being paid,” the source said.
The meeting will be the second since the union started its warning strike last week Monday.
Earlier: Federal Govt. Failed to Honour Agreement with Us, ASUU Laments
The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) yesterday accused the federal government of failing to implement a six-point agreement brokered during a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on January 9.
Besides, the union asked the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, declare a five-year state of emergency in the education sector by allocating 26 percent of its annual budget to the sector.
The union expressed concern at separate news conferences the Coordinator of Akure Zone, Prof. Olu-Olu Olufayo and his Sokoto Zone counterpart, Jamilu Shehu respectively in Akure and Katsina yesterday.
At Akure, Olufayo noted that the current strike was not only because of the non-payment of members’ salary due to the introduction of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
He said the ASUU suspended its strike before the general election because the federal government promised to do certain things that the government failed to do.
He said it was disheartening that Ngige, who was the arrowhead of the whole negotiation, could now turn to blame ASUU’s warning strike on non-payment of February salary.
“ASUU members worked for February. Up till today, nobody had been paid. So it was wrong for Ngige to state that lecturers need not be paid for work not done. We have worked for the month of February and deserve to be paid. It means Ngige does not know what he was saying,” Olufayo said.
ASUU, also, called for an immediate review of the promises made by the government to address the dilapidated and deplorable infrastructures and the bad state of education in Nigeria and demanded that such should be respected.
He said: “As things stand now, students are made to learn under inhumane conditions. This is in spite of all the efforts of ASUU to bring to the fore, all the inherent physical problems being experienced by the students.
“The situation has been made worse by apparent government meddlesomeness in the day to day administration of universities.
The attempt to erode universities’ autonomy makes them incapable of performing optimally in teaching, research, and rendering of services.”
The coordinator said the introduction of the obnoxious Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) would not do good for the university system.
He lamented that the government had rejected the cost-free and effective alternative platform, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), being developed by ASUU.
He said: “ASUU will not allow its members to be railroaded into enrolling in this scam called IPPIS because of its apparent deficiencies. IPPIS also runs counter of the Universities Miscellaneous Provision Act (as amended). It is nothing but a fraud, which allows the enrolment of ghost workers.”
Olufayo also faulted the National Assembly for attempting “to make laws against sexual harassment only for lecturers of higher institutions. ASUU condemns, in totality, all forms of sexual harassment, no matter its origin.
“However, the union is strongly opposed to any form of deliberate effort or attempt by the National Assembly to single out lecturers for sexual harassment legislation, as if such does not happen in other sections of the society.
“Such an attempt violates the rule of jurisprudence which says that laws should not be made against specific or targeted individuals or a group,” the coordinator said.
In Katsina, Shehu said at least 6 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should be allocated to education during the period under review.
He said the federal government “should declare a five-year state of emergency in the education sector. During this period, at least 6 percent of the GDP or 26 percent of the federal government budget, as well as 26 percent of each state government budget, should be allocated to education during this period.”
He, however, said the imposition of what he termed obnoxious IPPIS on ASUU members by the federal government did not address the peculiarities of varsities academics and was not applicable to any other university system in the world.
He urged the government to accept the union’s ongoing innovation system of human resource management and compensation known as University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which he said would tackle the peculiarities of universities and would end recruitment racketeering in the system.
Shehu said the federal government had precipitated another feud in the university system by not remitting the third party deductions from the salaries of ASUU members in January 2020 and non-payment of February salaries.
He explained that the union would continue with its two-week warning strike to compel the government to address its demands as capsulated in the ASUU-FGN Memorandum of Action (MoA) of February 7.
Earlier: Lecturers and FG Reaches Agreement to Merge IPPIS with UTAS
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Federal Government has reached an agreement to integrate the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) following the meeting between the two parties yesterday.
The IPPIS is the government’s accountability software that has been made compulsory for all public institutions, mainly for personnel payroll. ASUU is opposed to the use of IPPIS for lecturers saying it does not consider some of the peculiar operations of universities. The lecturers’ union then developed its own UTAS which it wants the government to adopt for universities.
The outcome of the meeting was made known by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, after a four-hour meeting between both parties.
Mr Ngige said the two parties will reconvene on Monday after the ASUU delegation deliberates with its National Executive Council (NEC).
When contacted, the National President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, said the National Executive Committee of the union will review the conditions for the integration of UTAS into IPPIS.
“From the discussion we had, we have agreed that we will go and consult. We cannot pronounce on the proposals that came up until we consult with our members. We will leave it there for now.” He stated.
When asked if the strike would be suspended, the ASUU president said he could not make any pronouncement until he consulted with other members.
Earlier: FG Reaches Agreement with Striking Lecturers on IPPIS
The Nigerian government has reached an interim agreement with striking university lecturers to integrate the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
The IPPIS is the government’s accountability software that has been made compulsory for all public institutions, mainly for personnel payroll.
ASUU is opposed to the use of IPPIS for lecturers saying it does not consider some of the peculiar operations of universities. The lecturers’ union then developed its own UTAS which it wants the government to adopt for universities.
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, announced the agreement after a four-hour meeting between both parties.
Mr Ngige said the two parties will reconvene on Monday after the ASUU delegation deliberates with its National Executive Council (NEC).
Also speaking, the National President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, said the National Executive Committee of the union will review the conditions for the integration of UTAS into IPPIS.
However, both parties did not reveal the conditions to the media.
ASUU on Monday asked its members in federal universities across the country to begin two weeks warning strike in response to the government’s decision to stop the February salaries of lecturers who have not registered on the IPPIS platform.
Thursday’s meeting is the first by both parties since the strike commenced.
More details later…
Earlier: House of Reps Summon Lecturers, Education Ministry Over Strike Action
The lawmakers posited that strike actions by the union had the tendency of collapsing the economy of the country.
Members of Nigeria’s House of Representatives are making moves to stop the Academic Staff Union of Universities from embarking on any other strike in the near future.
To resolve the issue, the House of Representatives has summoned the leadership of ASUU, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Labour to find a solution to the strike action.
The lawmakers posited that strike actions by the union had the tendency of collapsing the economy of the country.
The lawmakers expressed fear that ASUU would embark on an indefinite strike if their agitations were not addressed.
In a motion of urgent public importance submitted at the floor by Dachung Bagos, the legislator urged the House to intervene in the ongoing strike action by the union.
He highlighted the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System as the major reason for the industrial action.
In his submission, Rimamnde Shawulu posited that education tourism drains the country’s forex and called for the development of public and private institutions to discourage the practice.
Earlier: Reasons Why ASUU Embarked on the Warning Strike Action
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), yesterday embarked on two-weeks warning strike action. The reasons for the strike follows the decision of the federal government to stop the salaries of lecturers who have not enrolled in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
ASUU is opposed to the use of IPPIS for lecturers.
The strike action is also to compel the Federal Government to implement the agreements and resolutions of Memorandum of Action discussed in the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement, the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the 2017 Memorandum of Action (MoU), all of which have not been implemented, officials of the lecturers’ union said.
Some of the issues pointed out by the union include non- payment of February salaries and non-remittance of third-party deductions from the workers’ salaries.
In a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Ogunyemi described the IPPIS as a fraud that permits the enrollment of ghost workers and constitutes a financial drain on the scarce resources of the Nigerian state.
“The ugly experiences of those who have been coerced to enroll in the IPPIS platform as well as the patriotic testimony of a former Auditor-General for the Federation bears eloquent testimony to the monumental flaw of IPPIS.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the resistance to the deployment of IPPIS in the university is a patriotic action. IPPIS run foul of the universities Miscellaneous Provisions Act (as amended).”
The union also said the deficiencies and decay on campuses are compounded by the “unnecessary meddlesomeness in the internal administrative procedures and process of our universities by the government and its agents”.
The union said it has pointed out the deficiencies in IPPIS to the government
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 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”.
Earlier: ASUU Embarks on a Two-Week Warning Strike
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has commenced a two-week warning strike with effect from Monday. 9th March 2020 as a way of compelling the federal government to implement the agreements and resolutions of Memorandum of Action discussed in the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement, the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the 2017 Memorandum of Action (MoU), all of which have not been implemented.
This was made know by the National President of ASUU Professor Biodun Ogunyemi at the end of the National Executive Council meeting(NEC) held at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT).
It was also gathered that the warning strike is equally connected to the decision of the federal government to stop salaries of lecturers who have not enrolled in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
More details later.
Earlier: Federal Government Avoids Strike, Pays Lecturers
The Federal Government has made a U-turn on its determination not to pay January salary of the staff of the federal universities, polytechnic and colleges of education, thereby aborting the nationwide strike billed to commence on Monday, February 3.
It is gathered that the Federal Government has decided to halt its enforcement mechanism for a month with a view that the issues surrounding the scheme would have been sorted out.
The rift between the academic staff of the federal institutions in Nigeria is as a result of the refusal of the academic staff to enrol under the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS, scheme, claiming that it does not accommodate the peculiarities of the academic staff.
In a letter from the office of the Accountant General of the federation, signed by the Director of IPPIS, Olufehinti, O. J, dated January 21, 2020, and directed to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Minister was ordered not to release funds for payment of January salaries of the tertiary institutions.
Sequel to this, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, directed its members nationwide to go on strike as soon as the Federal Government stops lecturers’ salaries.
However, a twist was introduced to the saga as staff of the universities today received their salaries for the month of January.
It is gathered that the staff of Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, and University of Ibadan, UI, have been paid January salaries.
Prior to the payment of salary, there was tension in the Premier University over the determination of ASUU not to allow the second semester’s examinations hold if the Federal Government kept its threat of not paying salaries until all the academic staff enrolled under the IPPIS.
Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of the Premier University, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, has announced the commencement of the Second Semester’s Examination next Monday.
Earlier: ASUU Mobilises Members for Strike
An indication emerged in Jos on Saturday that the Academic Staff Union of Universities [ASUU] has commenced mobilisation of its members across the country for a strike action.
The chairman of the University of Jos chapter of ASUU, Dr Lazarus Maigoro, gave this indication after a special congress of the body held behind close door at ASUU secretariat in University of Jos.
According to the branch chairman, Dr Maigoro, “We are just coming out of a special congress which was conveyed to review the extent to which the federal government has implemented the agreement it reached with ASUU since 2009
“After the review, we have realised that the federal government has reneged in most of the agreements, they have only implemented a part of it.
Recall that we embarked on strike in 2015 and had to suspend it later when the federal government promised to implement the agreement in full, reason we suspended the strike, but the federal government has failed to keep its promises to implement these agreements.”
He said, “Some of issues not implemented in the 1999 agreements include the issue of funding of the universities. For instance, in the agreement, there are modalities for the release of funds, there are timelines for the releases of funds to the universities; government only released N25 billion after the suspension of the strike and since then nothing has been released again.
“Then there is the issue of renegotiation of that 2009 agreement, what was signed in that agreement has to be reviewed every three years, but since it was signed in 2009, it has not been reviewed.
“It is very unfortunate that government will often force ASUU to embark on strike before doing what is required of them, this one we are talking of an agreement they signed. So the next strike is not basically on IPPIS as Nigerians are already meant to believe, it is going to be on this pending breach of agreement.
However, the issue of IPPIS is a new development that also affects us and we have made our position known to the government.”
ASUU Gears Up For Possible Strike Amidst Face-off With FG Over IPPIS
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has threatened to embark on strike if the Accountant General of the Federation stops salaries of lecturers this January. This followed a circular from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) to all public universities last week Thursday with information to with-hold January salary of lecturers who refused to enroll in the IPPIS platform
ASUU said that its congress members had resolved to activate no pay, no work as soon as the government stopped its members’ salaries.
The Chairman University of Ibadan Chapter of ASUU, Professor Deji Omole while reacting to this said that the union was ready to pursue her stand on autonomy and infringement on FGN-ASUU agreement which IPPIS would erode.
President Omole stated it was unfortunate that even the President could not be trusted after assuring the Union to look into the matter and set-up committee to harmonize the University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS ), which would take care of university peculiarities and IPPIS as tabled before him at the last meeting.
He added that the union would not be threatened to allow alleged “undemocratic public servant like Accountant General of the Federation to ridicule tertiary education.
“We are ready for them. We are not slaves that can be subjected to routine humiliation by government appointees “. He stressed.
Earlier: No January Salary For Unregistered ASUU Members due to Failure to Enroll on IPPS – FG
The end is yet to be seen on the current squabble between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on IPPS enrollment, as the FG has released a circular mandating the Director of Cash Management to stop salaries of tertiary institutions workers not enrolled on the IPPIS platform.
Recall that, the federal government through the office of the accountant general had directed that all federal civil servants be enrolled in an Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS) and ASUU had repeatedly kick against the system calling it a dictatorial moved geared towards caging its members. They had threaten a strike action, should the federal government insist on enrolling their members on the platform.
Earlier: ASUU Strike Looms As FG Stops Payment Of Salaries To Lecturers Not Enrolled on IPPIS
Report has emerged that the FG has issued a circular mandating the Director of Cash Management to stop salaries of tertiary institutions workers who are yet to be enrolled in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) platform.
The circular which was signed by the Director of IPPIS was titled: Request for stoppage of Release of Funds For January Salaries To Federal Universities, Polytechnics and College of Education
It reads; “I am directed to inform you that the preparation of January 2020 salary payroll and warrants of the Federal Tertiary institutions are ongoing and will be ready for submission on or before 29th January 2020. This is to give effect to the directive of the Federal Government that all ministries, Departments, and Agencies drawing Personnel Cost from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CFR) should be enrolled on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
In order to actualize this directive, you are please requested not to release the funds for payment of salaries to the Tertiary Institutions as their salaries will henceforth be paid on the IPPIS platform with effect from January 2020.
Please accept the assurances and warm regards of the Accountant General of the Federation.”
Recall that ASUU earlier stated that its members will not join IPPIS as it does not meet the peculiar needs of the union and any move to stop the salaries of its members will lead to another indefinite strike.
With this development, ASUU may make real its threat to embark on indefinite strike.
Earlier: ASUU Again Threatens Nationwide Strike Over IPPIS
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) again on Wednesday threatened to mobilize for a nationwide strike if the Federal Government refuse to pay the salaries of its members for resisting to enroll on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
This was made known by the ASUU National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in Abuja during a press conference on the outcome of the National Executive Council meeting of the union held at the Federal University of Technology, Minna (FUTMINNA), Niger State, between December 7 and 8, 2019.
Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi also disclosed that its experts had designed a “unique prototype of the IPPIS for the university system named, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which he urged the Federal Government to implement in universities instead of the IPPIS as it would address the uniqueness of the university system, particularly the flexibility of the payroll and personnel management.
He noted that the attempt to impose enrolment in the IPPIS on university lecturers by the Federal Government was a plot to distract the union from the ongoing 2009 agreement renegotiation.
Ogunyemi said, “We salute the courage of our members for resisting the tactics of the Accountant-General of the Federation to cunningly migrate them to the IPPIS platform.
“As resolved at the ASUU-NEC meeting at FUT Minna, 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.
Earlier: ASUU Defies FG, Mobilizes for Nationwide Strike Over IPPIS
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has directed its branches to shun the enrolment into Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) which commenced nationwide yesterday in all the federal universities and get ready for nationwide strike action should the Federal government refuse to pay their salaries.
This followed directive from the Office of the Accountant General of Federation (OAGF) that all staff of federal universities should go with their credentials to their various institutions between November 25 (today) and December 5 for enrolment into IPPIS and salaries of any worker not captured on the payment platform will be withheld.
A source revealed to newsmen that ASUU in a meeting that lasted all through the weekend resolved to mobilize its members for strike action should the federal government suspend their salaries for refusing to enrol into the scheme. Efforts to reach the ASUU National chairman for comments on this have not produced results.
However, when contacted, the Sokoto Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Mr Jamilu Shehu, said, “ASUU is determined to oppose any policy that is aimed at thwarting the educational advancement of the country. If the government insists on stopping the salaries of the university staff for not joining IPPIS, the union’s policy of No Pay No Work will definitely be implemented,” he said.
He added that IPPIS violates the provisions of the Establishment Act of all federal universities and the union viewed the claim by the OAGF that ASUU’s position against IPPIS was an endorsement of corruption as cheap blackmail and a calculated attempt to sabotage university autonomy.
“Taking the next line of action depends upon the stopping of our salary by the government,” he added.
Earlier: ASUU Suspends Planned Strike Over IPPIS
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has disclosed that the proposed strike over the directive of the Federal Government to enrol its members into the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System has been suspended
We earlier reported that the ASUU members planned to embark on strike this November if the Federal Government withholds October Salaries over the issue of IPPIS
According to the President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in a phone interview, the union had decided to maintain status quo, pending further meetings.
He mentioned that the Senate has intervened in the matter and the union are engaging the Senate and the union has received assurance from the Senate that ASUU members will be paid when other workers are paid
He added that the union is proposing another template which would factor in the peculiarities of the universities and promote their interest.
“The point we are making is that we have visited the Senate President, told him that there is an alternative to IPPIS, the IPPIS as we see it, will not promote the interest of the university, there is no university or country in the world where the payment of university workers is centralised with the government.”
On the World University ranking, Ogunyemi stressed that enrolling its members would affect Nigeria’s status, and discourage visiting lecturers to come into the system.
“IPPIS will affect our ranking, because now scholars from different parts of the world will not be encouraged to come to Nigeria.
Earlier: ASUU Threatens Strike Following Face-off with the Federal Government over IPPIS
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has threatened to embark on strike action by November if the Federal Government goes ahead to withhold the October salary of Lecturers over their refusal to enroll in the ‘new’ payment system known as Integrated Personnel Payment Information System (IPPIS).
This was coming after the Accountant General of the Federation last week said the staff of any university that failed to enroll in IPPIS would not be paid their October salaries.
The Nigerian government adopted the IPPIS as a centralised payment system in order to block leakages and curb corruption and has mandated all Federal ministries, departments and agencies of government including Federal University Lecturers to be enrolled in the system. However, the lecturers are saying there are sufficient inbuilt measures in the current structure of the university system ” that is capable of checkmating corruption”.
According to ASUU, imposing IPPIS on universities is not only a violation of university laws, especially the hard-earned autonomy, “it is a relegation of the federal government’s agreement with ASUU.” as it willcost federal universities their “hard-earned autonomy.”
Speaking on the planned strike, the ASUU’s Zonal Coordinator for Bauchi zone, Lawal Abubakar said that the zone already have a standing order of ‘no salary no work’ which means the members would not turn up for work should they not receive their salary alerts on the last day of the month.
On how the IPPIS may affect lecturers, Abubakar said “the university may no longer be able to assist a lecturer who has issues with either his research allowances, or his rent allowance or his retirement benefits, because such a lecturer would have to travel to Abuja before he or she can get that done. But the university system is too dynamic for such delays and bottleneck.
“Secondly, the university system is so flexible that a lecturer may decide to disengage from service at any time. So should such a situation arises, and a vice-chancellor whose university has lost its autonomy needs to get a replacement, must have to go through some offices in Abuja; and when such officers would insist they have their candidate included in the list. A VC that rejects this would have to suffer the consequences of future denials of approvals, ” he said.
“No one can force ASUU to sign into IPPIS because the system requires us to fill the form, get our biometric data captured before one can be in the payment system.”
“We are not going to do that. And should they withhold our salaries, there is a standing instruction that we don’t show up for work a day after the last day of the month,” he said.