The Federal Government has stated that the issues concerning the seven-month strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is confusing. This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, during an interview in Abuja.ondents in Abuja. He accused the union of muddling things up over the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
According to him, the government told the union that ASUU’s payment system must tally with the IPPIS. He stated that the government directed the lecturers to register on the IPPIS, while developing their system so that they could collect their salaries.
“When originally we asked them how long it would take (to develop the system), they said 18 months and after a while, they brought us a semi-finished product and said the six months they had been on strike they had used it to develop the system and that we should now integrate it with our system. The government said no, we are not going to fuse this with all of our plans yet, until we independently work on it and see how it works which is where we are.
“So I still don’t understand what the issue is. We have been paying them and all the salaries we have paid them, have been paid on the IPPIS. So I don’t understand what they mean by they don’t want the IPPIS. They are already on the IPPIS.
“Out of 71,700 lecturers in Nigeria, we have 57,000 already on the IPPIS. So I don’t understand the basis for the strike. If it is the IPPIS, I don’t understand why anybody will claim they are not on the IPPIS when they are on IPPIS. I don’t understand why people will collect salaries and will not work. Even if you don’t like the system, do the work for which you are receiving the pay. I don’t understand it.” He added.
Reacting to this, the National president ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, stated that the Minister was deliberating creating confusion. He noted that the union raised five issues and non has been decisively addressed. He added that IPPIS came as a distraction.
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. According to him, the FG has not captured one-third of ASUU’s members on IPPIS.
On the issue of collecting money without working for it, the ASUU president said, “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.”