The Federal Ministry of Education has said that the demands made by the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) before they will call off their strike are unreasonable.
ASUU has said they haven’t called off their strike because the union is waiting for the federal government to carry out an integrity test on its software – the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi told The Punch yesterday in an interview that government needs to give clearance to the National Information Technology Development Agency to conduct an integrity test on UTAS.
UTAS is the payment platform created by ASUU after the union rejected the government payment platform – Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
But the spoke person of the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong has told BBC Pidgin that ASUU can not dictate how government should pay the salary of its staff.
“I don’t know whether you know how many groups, organizations, and associations are receiving salary from the federation account. So if everyone creates a payment platform for each, imagine how many payment platforms government will be dealing”, Mr. Goong said.
Whether government will accept UTAS or not, ASUU President Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said, “we are still talking to them, we have given them the position of our members, we know that we are going to have a meeting this week if they haven’t changed their plans”
Ogunyemi explained that ASUU is ready to resume academic activities if government is ready to play its part.
What are ASUU’s demands in the ongoing strike?
ASUU has disagreed with the government on the use of IPPIS. According to the Union, they can not register for IPPIS as the payroll application can be able to work for some special peculiarities of its members.
The union National President Biodun Ogunyemi said the IPPIS operators are shortchanging members’ salaries. Hence ASUU developed its payroll application, which the union called the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
Aside from the IPPIS and salary issue, the union is also holding government to honour the agreement that the two parties signed in 2013, which was finalized in February 2019.
The issues in the memorandum of understanding concerned the lecturers’ welfare and proper funding of universities in Nigeria.
ASUU started a nationwide strike on Monday 23 March, 2020 till further notice to call government attention to their lingering demands.