By Richard Thomas, Ibadan
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ibadan zone, has threatened that the union will begin nationwide strike if the Federal Government fails to remit the salaries of its members at the end of this month (October).
The union said this would reinforce members’ rejection of the Integrated Payment Personnel Information System (IPPIS), allegedly being forced on its members by the Federal Government.
The Ibadan Zone of ASUU comprises the University of Ibadan (UI), Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), University of Osun (UNISON) and Kwara State University (KWASU).
The union insisted on “no pay, no work” while rejecting the proposed enrolment of its members on the controversial IPPIS platform.
The union’s Zonal Coordinator, Dr. Ade Adejumo, yesterday described the IPPIS as a new and strange regime of finance about to be forced on public universities in Nigeria.
The union leader addressed reporters yesterday at the UI, the Oyo State capital.
He said ASUU and the government used to be on the same page in “the infallible reasons that our union painstakingly explained to government representatives during our interactions. This unfortunately appears to have fallen on deaf ears as government has not only rolled out its propaganda machines against our union, but is also planning to ambush the union and force our members into this ill-informed platform”. ASUU said the anti-corruption fight on which the government hinged the IPPIS platform was designed to suppress the masses.
“These ominous signs have now made it expedient for ASUU, as a responsible union of intellectuals, to puncture the lies sold to the public by government, particularly the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, so that members of the public can better be informed about our position,” he said.
Adejumo added: “You will agree that these are very critical ingredients to the survival of any university system that is seeking continued relevance in the highly competitive universal academic world.
“Sequel to this fact, government, conceding that the university is peculiar and different from the civil service, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government, agreed to the autonomy of universities in Nigeria and signed into law the Universities Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment Act) in 2003.
“For emphasis, therefore, we now present detailed perspectives of our union’s rejection of the IPPIS to discerning members of the public.”
The union leader insisted that IPPIS violated the provisions of the law and that the union was appalled that government was losing sight of the law on the power vested in the councils to dispense finances of the universities.
He stressed that circulars from Federal ministries shall be deemed invalid to the extent that they are inconsistent with the laws and regulations of universities and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We have painstakingly cited these laws to expose the mischief or ignorance of the Accountant General of the Federation in his reckless statement that by opposing IPPIS, our union endorses corruption.
“Ordinarily, we need not have bothered about the vituperations of the AGF because the stance of our union against corruption is in the public domain. However, the AGF needs to answer these questions: if indeed millions of naira have been recovered through the IPPIS, from where have the money been recovered, and who are the culprits that have been sanctioned for such infractions?” Adejumo queried.
He urged the government to address the issues ASUU raised.