The leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities is set for a fresh clash with the Federal Government as it has ordered its members across the country to shun the government officials who will be visiting campuses for biometric capture of academics beginning from Monday, 2020.
ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, gave the directive in a letter dated 15th October 2020, he wrote to all the Zonal Coordinators and all members of the union, urging them not to have anything to do with the verification officials, who according to him, are Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) officials from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
The letter entitled: “Update on Engagement with Government” sighted by Tribune Online reads: “We have received information that IPPIS officials from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation will be visiting campuses as from Monday, 19th October 2020 for biometric data capture of academics. All ASUU members should have nothing to do with them. Fact-check by ASUU with the figures from the OAGF has proven the claim that our members are trooping to enrol in the IPPIS in Abuja as false. The enrolled number is inconsequential.
On Monday, 12th October 2020, UTAS (Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution) was presented to the President and other leaders of the Nigerian Senate. Discussions on the withheld salaries, EAA, (Academic Earned Allowance), renegotiation of2009 Agreement, visitation to federal universities and proliferation of State Universities started at the meeting.
“On Tuesday, 13th October 2020, the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, the Senate Leader, Chairman of Senate Committee on Tertiary Education. Minister of Education, Munster of Labour and Employment, Accountant General of the Federation, among other government officials, met with the ASUU leadership on UTAS and other matters.
Yesterday, 14th October 2020, the UTAS was also demonstrated to the Accountant-General of the Federation, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chairman of Senate Committee on Tertiary Education and TETFund, Executive Secretary of NUC and other stakeholders.
Today, 15th October 2020, we shall meet with representatives of government to have decisive engagement on UTAS/IPPIS and trash out the main demands in the ongoing struggle All our members would be adequately briefed of the outcomes.
The first stage of UTAS testing has been completed. What is left is the technical testing which is commencing immediately. All stakeholders applauded the innovation that UTAS represents. IPPIS is a World Bank creation imposed on Nigeria. UTAS is a creation of Nigerian scholars to secure our data, ensure the autonomy of Nigerian Universities and reposition our University system for global competitiveness.
The leadership of our great Union is fully aware of the hardship the non-payment of salaries by the Accountant- General and other forms of intimidation by over-zealous Vice-Chancellors have unleashed on our membership and we are leaving no stone unturned to redress the situation. Therefore, all members of ASUU should stay away from anything related to IPPIS; so as not to jeopardize the ongoing critical engagement with the Federal Government.”
However, at the meeting with the Federal Government officials on Thursday, ASUU President, Ogunyemi had expressed the readiness to call off the strike if the Federal government was able to address some of the demands of the Union, with the Federal Government promising to release the sum of N30 billion as part of the Academic Earned Allowance for the lecturers.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, at the end of the meeting, said the Accountant General of the Federation was committed to releasing the money before November 6.