ASUU strike continues despite dialogue with government

. As FG gives conditions to integrate UTAS into IPPIS

The two weeks warning strike by the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) continues as the Federal Government gave conditions to integrate the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) into the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

Following a four-hour technical session between the Federal Government team led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige and the leadership of ASUU, the minister revealed that the government has given conditions for the UTAS, to be integrated into IPPIS.

The Minister and the ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi did not reveal what those conditions were; even as the meeting is to be reconvened on Monday or Tuesday next week after various consultations.

Prof.  Ogunyemi in his remark said the National Executive Committee (NEC) of ASUU would meet to review the conditions set for the integration of UTAS into IPPIS.

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He accused the Federal Government of using the IPPIS as a tool to distract the union from pursuing the delayed implementation of agreements reached in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed in January 2019.

Defending the position of ASUU, Ogunyemi said the IPPIS, meant for civil servants would limit and localise universities in the country and would drag the country backwards.

The ASUU President said: “On February 7, 2019, we were here, we signed a Memorandum of Action. There were items outlined, roles were outlined and time frames were attached. We have written three letters in respect of those items.

“There were key areas over which we have been raising issues. We were thinking that we were going to trash those items that were outstanding until July 2019, when suddenly IPPIS was thrown at us.

“IPPIS was a distraction because way back in 2013 when IPPIS was first introduced to us as a subject, we engaged the officers in charge then and by 2014 when we were almost at the point of providing an alternative, the government side withdrew and for five solid years we didn’t hear anything from the IPPIS office until July last year and suddenly it appears IPPIS has been made the major subject for university governance and staff unionism.

“As a union of intellectuals, we are interested in what will make our universities grow, develop and thrive. Nobody wants to acknowledge that some of the policies we pose on our systems are taking us years back and IPPIS happens to be one of them.

“We have done our research, IPPIS is meant for the civil service, not for the universities. Universities are centres for universal teaching and learning and we are bound to attract scholars in order to have a system we can all be proud of.

On ASUU position, he said: “The position of our union is that IPPIS will take our universities into the mainstream of the civil service. We are saying there is no university in the world where that is done so we don’t want to embrace a policy that will localise Nigerian Universities. It is in the interest of the Nigerian University system and of course Nigeria.

“Bringing IPPIS as the main subject matter for our disagreement with agents of government is like taking us away from our primary focus and our primary focus is how to get our universities back on their feet;

“We need to revitalise our universities, address outstanding entitlements of our members, to stop the proliferation of universities, we need to visit our universities as provided for in law and we need to fix our universities to the pride of all.”

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