THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) branch, has called on the Federal Government to jettison its stand to include the body in Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
The call was contained in a statement issued and signed by the branch Chairman of ASUU in FUTA, Dr Olayinka Awopetu, who described the system as an introduction to advanced corrupt practices, noted that a distributed system is more suitable than a centralised system.
According to Awopetu, who expressed the body’s disdain for corruption while the union embrace transparency and accountability in all sector of the nation but stressed the need for the Federal Government not to truncate the autonomy of the University system or reduce universities to local communities or arms of Federal Ministries.
He however called on the Federal Government to consider the alternative offer from the University lecturers, known as Nigerian Universities Transparency and Accountability System (NUTAS), saying the alternative will also adequately take care of all the claims of the Federal Government on lPPlS, the Universities autonomy laws as well as the peculiarities of the university Academic Environment.
Awopetu stated in the statement that “while ASUU is not averse to transparency and accountability to the Nation, including the university system, we believed this can be achieved in a way that will not truncate the autonomy of the University system or reduce our universities to local communities or arms of Federal Ministries.
“Hence, the need for the Federal Government to consider the alternative offer from ASUU, which will adequately take care of all the claims of the Federal Government on lPPlS, the Universities Autonomy Laws as well as the peculiarities of the university Academic Environment. This alternative is called the Nigerian Universities Transparency and Accountability System (NUTAS).”
He premised the stand of the FUTA branch of the union on some factors saying “the IPPIS as presently structured is centralized. This is inappropriate for any University system. In this case, ASUU FUTA believes that a distributed system is more suitable than a centralised system.
“A distributed system whereby each University manages its database, and the mirror is available to the Federal Government, ensures a peer review as well as checks and balances.
“This will ensure that the autonomy of the university system is sustained while making the outcome available as a minor to the employer for planning as claimed by the Federal Government.
“Information Technology, upon which the IPPIS is built, has rated distributed systems above centralized systems because distributed systems are more fault-tolerant, secure, transparent (because of peer review) and easily take care of scalability while making resource sharing easier and more effective.
“A centralised system is prone to more corruption than a distributed system. This is further reinforced by corruption cases already discovered within a short time of test running of IPPIS, like the report of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation claiming that OAGF was unable to provide records covering about N23 billion in the IPPIS operation transaction accounts.”
He said further, “Also, in June 2017, EFCC arraigned three persons on multiple count charges, led by a staff of Soft Alliance (Onukaogu Onyinyechi Esther) who added her name and those of her two siblings (Joshua and Jennifer) into the IPPIS database as staff of Federal Ministry of Education and Federal Ministry of Works respectively.
“The amount paid on them was N9.7million. To ask pertinent questions. why is government hell-bent on coercing ASUU into joining the IPPIS? Can the Government provide a list of the MDAs that have not even joined IPPIS?
“ASUU FUTA feels that the FGN‘s claim that some academics are working in multiple Universities is mere cheap blackmail. Assuming, without conceding, that an academic is working; in one Federal university and two or more state or private Universities. There is no way the current IPPIS would be able to detect the act as IPPIS is only for Federal Universities. ASUU is in a better position to solve such a problem if allowed.
“Our findings on the experience of staff in ministries and parastatals who are victims of IPPIS are better imagined. An example is the Nigerian Police Force, which once called on the President and EFCC to investigate IPPIS.
“The idea of having desk officers for IPPIS across the country ls belittling a serious matter of over-centralisation of the University system.
“It is ironical that in this 21st century when Government should be thinking of freeing the University system of government bureaucracy to make it more attractive to academics from all over the world, Government seems to be strengthening the bureaucracy thereby devaluing University system the more.”
FUTA branch of ASUU however, advised the government to be very careful of embracing foreign ideas without proper fine-tuning for domestication.
They maintained that IPPlS should be investigated without delay to unravel the endemic corruption being perpetrated within the IPPIS system itself.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government had recently directed that public sector workers, including universities, must be captured on the payroll system to save cost and fight corruption by blocking leakages in its salary payment structure.
The move had since been resisted by the university lecturers.