The National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, accused the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, of deliberating creation confusion on the seven month strike.
Recall that Nwajiuba accused the union of muddling things up over the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
Ogunyemi, while reacting to Nwajiuba’s statement, said, “The IPPIS came as a distraction; there are five issues we raised. Have they addressed the issues; constitution of visitation panel, earned academics allowances of our members and proliferation of universities particularly state universities? It is hypocritical for the minister to say he doesn’t know what ASUU wants. They are deliberately creating confusion so that Nigerians will put the blame on academics and they will absolve themselves of any blame.”
He explained further that all the figures quoted by the minister were incorrect while he challenged the minister to produce the list of the 57,000 members of the union on the IPPIS.
“The figure cannot be correct we know that as far as lecturers are concerned we can’t have that number. We met with the Accountant General of the Federation, office of the Minister of Labour and Employment, and we got different figures. From our research we know they have not captured up to one quarter of our membership. If they believe they have captured our members in the IPPIS platform, they are joking. The figure that the minister is brandishing could not be correct because we don’t have that number in federal universities. He can show us the list of those 57, 000.”
Ogunyemi noted that the issue of the IPPIS dated back to 2013 when Nwajiuba was not yet in government and as such did not know the history of the struggle.
“Yes they didn’t say they will abandon the IPPIS but the discussion on the IPPIS dated back to 2013 when he was not in government so he cannot know the history of the IPPIS more than ASUU. We engaged government in 2013 and showed them why the IPPIS cannot work in university system. By 2014 we were discussing with government on the possibility of jointly developing a platform that would serve the university better. The IPPIS was developed for civil servants. We couldn’t have told government to abandon the IPPIS, but the IPPIS was not originally meant for the university and we challenge them that there is no university in the world where the IPPIS is being implemented where the salaries of the university staff are paid directly through the civil service.”
“The essence of having governing council will be defeated. Many of those who enrolled in the IPPIS are rejecting it already. If non-academic staff have accepted the IPPIS they cannot equate that with ASUU. This is the time they should demonstrate the goodwill they promised us. I don’t believe he is speaking for government on that. He was not present at the three presentations we have had so he cannot appreciate the usefulness of UTAS. UTAS is ahead of the IPPIS.”
“That issue of collecting money without working I am not sure he is in the true picture of what is happening in our campuses.”
“We have our colleagues who have not been paid one kobo since February this year because the IPPIS claims to have one issue or the other with them. When the President said they should pay us, by the time they would pay some colleagues have four months, six months and nine months of unpaid salaries.”
“They have been paying those who they intimidated to join the IPPIS and those they know have like a year, two years to retirement, they now told them that if they don’t join the IPPIS, the payment of their gratuity will not be guaranteed. They are those just coming to the system without undergoing the due process and the IPPIS operators are bringing people in through the backdoor. Another group are those who have issues with the union and government is leveraging on that to pull them to their side.”