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IPPIS: SSANU expresses displeasure over irregularities in Feb. salaries payment

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The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has expressed strong displeasure over the irregularities witnessed in the payment of February salaries for its members using the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The Association expressed its view in a statement signed by Mr Salaam Olayiwola, SSANU National Public Relations Officer, and made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja.

According to Olayiwola, IPPIS is government payment platform, which we keyed into, with the understanding that the platform would greatly improve personnel accountability in the system thereby reducing the spate of corruption in our universities.

“Kindly recall that we keyed into the IPPIS with an understanding that all the peculiarities in the University system, particularly pertaining to our members would be adequately addressed.

“Also, especially the issues of allowances, appointments, increments and third party deductions among others.

“Various concerns were raised and our fears were allayed through various correspondences, meetings and practical sessions where the application was displayed and all issues brought forward were addressed, ” he said.

He explained that it was only after exhausting all queries and getting satisfactory answers that the union and its Joint Action Committee counterpart Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, decided to key into the platform in the overall interest of the system and its members.

Olayiwola added that it was shocking to them that their first real taste of the IPPIS application was totally different from what was presented. All the concerns raised by their unions were not implemented and disregarded.

He said apart from the breach of trust, which had now manifested, the members across the universities were groaning from various anomalies witnessed in their salaries thereby forcing them into great hardships “which they never bargained for when they keyed into the IPPIS.

“As a leadership, this is totally unacceptable!

“The recent development has once again shown, despite our attempts to test otherwise, that Government can never be trusted.

“As such, based on what we have been subjected to with the February salary, we do not blame our lecturer counterparts, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), for resisting the IPPIS from the beginning.

“It is on the strength of the above that we demand that the office of the Accountant General of the Federation reverts us to the GIFMIS platform, which was working seamlessly before IPPIS was introduced.

“It is getting clearer that our trust in government and its agencies on the IPPIS issue was clearly misplaced, ” he said.

He, however, added that an understanding had been reached with ASUU to integrate the ASUU proposed University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) into the IPPIS.

“While we place on record, the right of ASUU to reach an understanding with the government on this hybrid payment platform, we note that this can only be implemented for ASUU members as at today and if it is to be implemented across board.

“It must be with the consent of the other university based unions;  having keyed into the IPPIS project and gotten an unsavory first taste, we shall not accept any other payment platform, which does not carry us along.

“If UTAS is a general University payment platform, we must be guaranteed that its features accommodate the peculiar needs and challenges of the non-teaching staff in the system.

“If this is not guaranteed, the hybrid application shall be rejected in totality by our members.

“We demand that Government immediately looks into the anomalies witnessed in the February 2020 salary payments through the IPPIS platform and ensure rectification of these anomalies because the situation as at today cannot guarantee industrial peace in the system,” he said.

Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Felix Ajide
(NAN)

 

 

Economy

Civil servants decry arbitrary deductions from their salaries by IPPIS

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Some federal civil servants in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have decried the continued arbitrary deductions from their salaries by the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) for no reason.

They expressed their grievances over the irregularities in salary payment in separate interviews with Nigeria News Agency in Abuja on Tuesday, describing it as fraud.

Some said the deductions were alien to them as they were not aware of any reasons why their salaries should be deducted.

Mr Livinus Ugochukwu, a former employee of NAN said that in August 2018, IPPIS deducted N10,158.33 from his salary and credited Full Range Micro-Finance company, an organisation he did not know.

Ugochukwu said IPPIS also deducted N8,784 from his salary in May and credited Brain Integrated System, another organisation he did not know.

Another public sector worker, Mrs Hadiza Aliyu, said she received a text message from CreditWallet, a micro-credit company, telling her that she had been pre-qualified for N500,000 loan.

On enquiry about how the loan would be re-paid, a desk officer with the company said the group was working with IPPIS.

Similarly, Mr Monday Ogbuoka, a civil servant with the Ministry of Information complained that he noticed the irregularities in his salary for three consecutive times.

Ogbuoka said that N20,000 was deducted from his salary by IPPIS without any explanation.

He said that he decided to investigate why the deduction was made and discovered that an official of IPPIS had connived with a business company to make the deduction even when he did not buy anything from the company.

Another civil servant, Mrs Ann John, a level 15 officer told NAN that N50, 000 was deducted from her salary by IPPIS for three consecutive months for no reason.

“I was surprised when I collected my pay slip I discovered that N50,000 was deducted from my salary by IPPIS.

“When I requested for explanation from Salaries and Wages in my office, I was told that the office did not authorise such deductions,’’ John said.

Mr Abdullahi Musa, a level 12 civil servant said he did not buy any goods from any vendor yet a certain amount was being deducted from his salary monthly.

“I went to IPPIS desk office in my office and they could not give any reason for the deductions, the office was not even aware of such deductions,’’ Musa said.

Ms. Chikara Chineke, a level 10 officer said that she had also experienced a monthly deduction of N10,000 for a period of six months.

“I don’t understand why deductions were made from my salary for six consecutive months without explanation. It is not funny. I have complained and nothing has been done.

“At least, there should be some explanation to that. I never collected anything on credit that I should suffer this. Something has to be done to stop the deductions,’’ Chineke lamented.

Investigations by NAN reveal that data of subscribers have been compromised by organisations and individuals they had been entrusted with.

Oftentimes, Nigerians are inundated with messages on their cell phones and e-mails asking them to subscribe to goods and services.

The recipients, especially public service workers, are encouraged to apply for loans from micro-credit outfits on very liberal conditions, including not providing securities for the facilities.

Repayments for such loans which can be obtained within 24 hours, are cheap with interests on single digit.

Others request prospective subscribers to buy household goods on credit and the repayment plan spread overtime.

Prospective subscribers are asked not to worry about the mode of repayment since the vendors can access their payroll information from their employers.

This has often been the case with Federal Government employees enrolled on IPPIS.

While the promoters of the services claim they work with IPPIS, the agency under the Office of Accountant-General of the Federation, denies knowledge of the transactions. Meanwhile, the workers on the receiving end have continued to groan.

However, NAN sought to get the comments of the Director, IPPIS, Mr Olufehinti Olusegun on the allegations but several phone calls and text messages put across to his cell phone were not answered.

Edited By: Ese E. Ekama
(NAN)

 

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Implementation of IPPIS without peculiarities of COEs, unacceptable – COEASU

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The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), says the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) without peculiarities of the Colleges of Education Subsector (COES) is unacceptable.

 

Mr Nuhu Ogirima, COEASU President, said this in a statement on Sunday, in Abuja.

 

Ogirima said that the implementation of the IPPIS without the peculiarities of COES is an unacceptable breach of trust by the Federal Government.

 

According to him, the attention of the National Secretariat has been drawn to the payment of February 2020 salary to staff of the Federal Colleges of Education by the Federal Government.

 

“From the information available, it is quite evident that the peculiarities of the Colleges of Education subsector, which the stakeholders’ meetings with IPPIS office, prior to its implementation, harped on as the basis of rejection of the obnoxious pay platform, have not been reflected.

 

“For the avoidance of doubt, the February salary paid by the government did not include the Peculiar Allowances of the staff of the subsector, especially the Peculiar Earned Academic Allowance (PEAA).

 

“Also not paid are the staff on Sabbatical Leave. In addition, deductions were effected on all staff salary indiscriminately, for the National Housing Fund (NHF), a voluntary scheme to which most staff did not subscribe.

 

“Whereas government deducted its own statutory deductions, the non-statutory deduction of staff that are necessary for their well-being, especially Staff Cooperative Society contributions were not made.

 

“Sadly, pension and the imposed obnoxious tax deductions were effected on gross earning of staff, which included non-taxable Allowances as against the basic salary on which such deductions ought to be effected,’’ he said.

 

The COEASU President added that the union views this as a serious breach of trust, and therefore, considers this betrayal not acceptable.

 

He said the impunity with which the  government has engendered the anomaly goes to further heighten the fears and reinforces of concern over the wanton neglect of the Colleges of Education subsector by successive administrations peaked with the current government.

 

He, however, said that the union has reiterated their initial worries and concerns over the use of IPPIS in Colleges of Education system, as a tertiary institution.

 

He said that the union has called on the government, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) in particular, to as a matter of urgent concern, address this issue capable of disrupting the smooth running of the COEs and ameliorate the situation.

 

“The union shall reconvene the Expanded National Executive Council meeting to deliberate on further necessary actions on IPPIS and other lingering issues of industrial concern, including but not limited to the inconclusive renegotiation.

 

“That includes the unfulfilled N15billion Needs Assessment palliative and the sum of N2.5billion unpaid arrears of Peculiar Allowances,’’ Ogirima added.

Edited By: Zainab Garba/Felix Ajide
(NAN)

 

 

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Education

Strike: Worried Nigerians urge flexibility in FG/ASUU negotiations on IPPIS

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As the disagreement between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), over the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS), gets messier, leading to a two-week warning strike by the university teachers, Nigerians have urged the two parties to be flexible in their positions to ease the possibility of reaching a common ground.

Some of them, among them key stakeholders in the education sector, who spoke with the Nigeria News Agency , emphasised the need for government and the university lecturers to place the interest of the nation and the young students affected by the impasse, well above any other consideration.

NAN reports that while the Federal Government insists on paying salaries to only lecturers that have enrolled into the IPPIS platform, the lecturers have vowed to resist IPPIS which they opined is a fraud.

In the place of the IPPIS, the lecturers have offered its option – the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) – a model it said would tackle the unwholesome issues around wages payment, which government says IPPIS will eliminate.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, while insisting on the IPPIS, warned that lecturers not enrolled into its portal would not be paid salaries, and indeed actualised the threat by withholding the lecturers’ February salaries which ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, cited as the immediate cause of the latest round of strike.

The warning strike, he told newsmen last week, is to allow government more time to address the issues or risk a definite strike action.

But Nigerians have urged those concerned to remember the place  of education in the growth and development of any nation and make sacrifices so as to reach common grounds that could ensure the reopening of the universities.

Speaking on the face-off, Prof. Moyosore Ajao, ASUU Chairman, University of Ilorin, advised the Federal Government to continue to dialogue with the union to avert any further crisis.

“The only way forward is continuous dialogue with the union; if they discuss with us, there will eventually be resolution to all these issues,” he said.

Ajao, however, warned that failure to embark on mutual dialogue would result to “anarchy”, with many casualties.

Mr Adeshina Owoyele, the acting Secretary, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in Kwara, shares similar sentiments.

ASUU should discuss with its employer, the Federal Government. Both parties should strive to reach a quick consensus in the interest of the common good.

“They both claim they want to sanitise the system. It means they both agree that some thing is wrong and needs to addressed.

“Clearly, no employer of labour will watch while its employees draw salaries from multiple sources. ASUU’s claim of entrenching autonomy in the university is not tenable and cannot outweigh the allegation that

many lecturers draw salaries from different universities.

“Unless there is something to hide, nothing is wrong with the IPPIS platform. What the union needs to do is to discuss the peculiarities with the Federal Government and resolve the issue once and for all,” he added.

Mr Adesegun Olagoke, an educationist, also believes there is the need for the Federal Government and ASUU to come to a peaceful resolution hinged on sincerity of purpose and willingness to reach a compromise.

Olagoke said that the crisis could be forestalled with both parties sitting at a round table to address all grey areas causing the problem.

According to him, the Federal Government must, for instance, recognise the peculiarity of the university system and all its processes which run based on its constitutionally-backed autonomy as is the case everywhere in the world.

“If government can recognise and capture on the IPPIS such multifarious peculiarities as the issue of Sabbatical, 70 years retirement age, external examiners and external assessors, earned academic allowances, visiting adjunct and part time consultancy services among others, it would have allayed the fears of Nigeria’s university teachers,” he said.

But the Chairman of ASUU at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Dr Adeola Egbedokun, insisted that only respect for autonomy for universities would bring peace.

Egbedokun, who noted that the autonomy in the university system was backed by law, added that the Federal Government was ignoring this aspect of the law.

He said that until the law of autonomy returned to universities, there would continue to be tension on the campuses.

His colleague at Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Dr Olayinka Awopetu, agrees, saying the University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS) which ASUU had already suggested, was a better alternative.

“UTAS is in line with the law as against IPPIS which is against the law establishing the nation’s universities. ASUU will never support anything that contradicts the law.

“Last week, ASUU demonstrated UTAS to some vice chancellors, registrars and bursars; I am sure they were all convinced that UTAS is a better alternative,” he said.

But Mr Ayodeji Ebenezer, Coordinator of the Federal University Oye Ekiti chapter of Congress of University Academics, a rival group to ASUU, advised his colleagues to abide by government’s directive, saying that nothing could be achieved in an atmosphere of rancour.

`We do not have problems with the Federal Government’s policy on IPPIS. We have come to understand that the policy is good and capable of curbing corruption in the system.

“Again, since he who pays the piper dictates the tune, members of the academic community have no option than to shift ground by complying.”

A parent, Mrs. Kemisola Owodunni, advised government to strive to disabuse ASUU’s conception that IPPIS was conceived to undermine autonomy in federal universities.

Accordding to her, ASUU had rejected Federal Government’s IPPIS only on the point of law, while offering an alternative platform which the union felt would take care of universities’ peculiarities.

” It is important that the Federal Government first consider putting the cards on the table to look into addressing the concerns of ASUU so as to allay all that is their fears,” she said.

For Mr Kowe Odunayo, the Southwest Coordinator of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Zone D, ASUU has nothing to fear since virtually all other federal agencies and federal universities had subscribed to IPPIS.

“There is no reason for ASUU as a collective body not to fully subscribe to IPPIS. The union is swimming against the popular tide and should always be realistic and considerate in its demands.”

Mr Ike Onyechere, Founder, Exam Ethics Marshall Institute, who also spoke on the face-off, cautioned against any situation that could slow down progress in the academic calendar of tertiary institutions.

“The educational sector needs to be protected from unwarranted disruptions. We cannot afford the consequences of such distractions.

“The circles of conflicts, strikes and showdowns have had devastating consequences on the education system.

“ There is the need to stop further occurrence of such strike actions and this can only be done if both parties come together and agree on terms that will not jeopardise the interest of the students.

“The norms of democracy require ASUU to formally sign on to the IPPIS programme since most of their members have already signed.

“I urge ASUU to sign and avoid unnecessary conflicts,’’ he said.

Also, Mrs. Adekemi Jegede, a retired Headmistress, urged both parties to place the national interest above “this ego clash”, noting that it was the students were the victims of the clash by the two elephants.

“ The interest of the students must be protected by both the Federal Government and the union; both parties must ensure that the educational sector is protected.

“If the system is to be protected, the parties, regardless of their differences, should not allow any strike in the system.

“The youths of this country are the leaders of our future and we must do everything possible to make sure they are in school so as to complete their education without any distractions from the union,’’ she said.

Miss Glory Oche, a student of Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa, in her reaction, declared that the disruption of studies was not healthy for student.

“When students return home after such distractions, they become promiscuous and could yield to the temptation to be take drug leading to  psychological effects.

“It could also result into the reduction in learning ability when the students finally resume due to several months of non-academic activities.”

She called on ASUU and the Federal Government to go back to the drawing board to resolve the issues so as not to truncate the education of the youths.

Stakeholders in the South-East, who reacted to the impasse, proffered various ways toward resolving the lingering quarrel with the Federal University of Technology, Owerri chapter of ASUU insisting that sticking to international best practices was the best solution to end it.

Dr Christopher Echereobia, its Chairman, said that IPPIS did not align with international best practices which granted autonomy to universities.

Echerobia, a crop scientist, said that the system should not be introduced in Nigerian universities because it was a major distraction from what he described as “some yet to be fulfilled” agreements between the two parties.

He, however, urged government to look into the agreement which it signed with the ASUU in 2009 with a view to fulfilling its part of the agreement.

According to him, this will help to address the decade-old yearnings of lecturers.

IPPIS does not agree with international best practices which allow for university autonomy and Nigeria should not do anything that will be contrary.

IPPIS contravenes the laws of the university system because we have a governing council to whom we are directly accountable and who takes charge of issues, including but not limited to, the system remuneration.

“We urge the Federal Government to look into some of these issues, including fulfilling its part of the agreement signed in 2009”.

Dr Stephen Ufoaroh, the ASUU Chairperson, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, described as a `distraction’ the directive by the federal government for lecturers to enroll into IPPIS.

Ufoaroh said the government and the union had more important issues to jointly handle for improvement of the nation’s tertiary education system.

He said that the union’s position on the matter was not a mark of disobedience, but a display of her belief that the existing IPPIS system was characterised with unhealthy practices.

“It is due to these obvious defects plaguing the IPPIS that made our union to design a better payment platform for government to use.

But Mr Titus Eleweke, an Awka-based social commentator, told NAN that there was no justification for ASUU to foot drag over government’s directive on the IPPIS.

“Government is the employer to ASUU and if they want members of the union to enroll into IPPIS, it does not call for argument,” he said.

Eleweke said it was regrettable that in recent times, struggles between government and the union had revolved around welfare.

He noted that other issues raised by the group were mere cosmetic, aimed at deceiving the public.

He said it was regrettable that lectures nowadays compared themselves with politicians on the issue of remuneration, leaving out grants on research at their disposal.

A civil servant, Mr Geoffrey Odogwu, said government and the union should find workable means of resolving the issue.

“We sometime hear that IPPIS officials were involved in fraudulent activities which show that the system is not entirely okay.

“If government and ASUU should handle the matter maturely, the nation might get a flawless integrated payment system,” he said.

A social commentator in Enugu State, Dr Maxwell Ngene said that IPPIS had come to stay as long as the federal government was in charge of salary payment in the university.

ASUU should work out their peculiarities with IPPIS office. Currently, ASUU has a divided house and public sentiment is not on their side, so a face-off with government will be detrimental to ASUU.

“However, one may ask why the special interest in universities when CBN, NNPC and some other agencies are still left out of IPPIS?’’ Ngene said.

Meanwhile, some stakeholders in Nsukka have urged the federal government to allow public universities to use Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as alternative payroll platform to IPPIS.

They told NAN in separate interviews in Nsukka that this would be the only way to avert the looming nationwide indefinite strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and ensure industrial harmony in public universities.

Mr Alex Ezurike, the Proprietor of Bishop Alex Continuous Education Centre, Nsukka said that what government should do is to monitor UTAS payroll platform closely as it did to IPPIS.

“Government says reasons for asking ASUU to enroll in IPPIS are to fight corruption and fish out ghost workers in universities. With close monitoring of UTAS implementation, government will also achieve the same result it has achieved in IPPIS.

“Government should consider the interest of students in public universities who will be at the receiving end, if ASUU embarks on nationwide indefinite strike because of IPPIS enrollment,” he said.

Dr Emma Ugwuerua, member representing Nsukka West in Enugu State House of Assembly, advised government not to stop the salary of ASUU members to avoid nationwide strike.

“When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers; this face-off between government and ASUU should be resolved amicably to ensure industrial harmony in public universities.

Ugwuerua said that industrial strike by ASUU at this moment would increase security challenges in the country since students would become idle at home

“An idle man is a devil’s workshop. These students, who will be forced home if ASUU embarks on strike, may be lured into one crime or the other due to idleness.

“Government should grant the request by ASUU to use UTAS as an alternative payroll platform to ensure industrial harmony,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Salim Abdurrahman, the Chairperson, Federal University, Dutse (FUD), chapter of ASSU), has said that the union was not against enrolling its members IPPIS platform.

“What we want is for government to rectify some grey areas so as to have a policy that will stand the test of time,” he told NAN.

Abdurrahman, who did not state the grey areas.

But some residents of Dutse have expressed divergent views over the matter, with Mr Ahmad Balarabe, a civil servant, opining that ASUU had no ground to refuse being enrolled on the IPPIS.

ASUU members are being paid by the federal government and have no legal basis to reject the IPPIS. They should struggle through it like other federal civil servants. I don’t see any problem with IPPIS, ASUU is just trying to prove stubborn or has some skeleton in its cupboards,” Balarabe opined.

Another resident, Malam Ahmad Shuaibu, advised the two parties to resolve the contending issues amicably.

“The government and ASUU should sit and sort out this problem once and for all. It is not in anybody’s interest that it should linger,” he said.

Reactions from the South-South zone of the country showed a mixed feelings over the face-off with some people expressing total support for the government’s position aimed at stemming corruption in public universities, while others said that more areas of dialogue should be explored toward reaching an amicable solution.

According to Dr Williams Wodi, a senior lecturer in the Department of Linguistic and Communications Studies, University of PortHarcourt, some ASUU members, who did not enroll on IPPIS platform, ought to comply.

“Out of 1,200 ASUU members in the university, 876 members have so far registered on IPPIS, including 160 academic doctors and consultants.

“The remaining ASUU members that are yet to register should quickly do so.  It is not possible to dictate to your employer on when and how to work for him, or how one should be paid.

“The employer wants to know how many people are on its employment; how many are on regular and adhoc appointment, and those on sabbatical. So, ASUU has no case.

“The solution is that the remaining ASUU members should swallow their pride and get themselves registered on IPPIS,’’ he appealed.

Wodi said that the implementation of IPPIS would expose lecturers who took teaching jobs in five to six universities at the detriment of students in their parent institutions.

On his part, National Publicity Coordinator of the Congress of University Academics (CONUA), Dr Nwoke Onyebuchi, opined that IPPIS would address corruption in the nation’s academic system.

According to him, the introduction of IPPIS in tertiary institutions will result to employment of more lecturers as ghost lecturers will be weeded from the system.

“The detractors are claiming that the payroll system will affect lecturers on sabbatical, but we found out that those on sabbatical would be adequately captured in the system.

“So, nothing is going to be btaken away from lecturers. However, this will never be told to workers because some individuals want to orient conflicting trajectory with the government,” he explained.

Similarly, respondents in Cross River, who expressed support for government’s decision, described the IPPIS as a veritable means of checking corruption and curbing wastage in governance.

An enrollee, Mrs Eme Offiong, who is a member of staff of the Ministry of Information, told NAN in Calabar that the programme had helped in sealing leakages associated with payment of workers’ salaries.

“With IPPIS, a worker can predict and calculate what his or her salary can be in a month.

“It has also helped in regular payment of salary. IPPIS has created a situation where the least officer in an establishment collects the salary from the same source with the chief executive.

“It has never happened before and I think it is a good idea that should be embraced by all workers,’’ Offiong said.

Another senior civil servant, Mr Ignatius Odey, said that IPPIS had closed all leakages that usually led to waste, thereby encouraging corruption.

“Before now, you find those in accounts adding fictitious names where they will clear remnants after salary payment; but now, everybody receive from the same IPPIS.

“It is a good omen because some workers were even receiving double salaries,’’ he said.

In Uyo, a Chartered Accountant and Tax Consultant, Mr Ntudo Udoessien, also appealed to members of ASUU to avert unnecessary strike and cooperate with government by enrolling with the IPPIS.

Udoessien also told NAN that since other Ministries,Department and Agencies (MDAs) had enrolled on the IPPIS platform, there was need for ASUU members in federal universities to comply.

He said: “My view is that the Federal Government has a template into which every MDA has been captured. ASUU should just queue in.

“If ASUU keys in and there is a problem regarding salaries, this could be resolved without going on strike. So, I think that all universities should be able to key in and see what is going to happen.’’

He said that that there was no template computer software engineers could not develop to address complaints on peculiarity in salaries as canvassed by ASUU, and cautioned against throwing the university system into unnecessary strike at the detriment of innocent students and parents as the system had already been overstretched.

In his contribution, Edet Akpakpan, a Professor of Economics and former lecturer, University of Uyo, said that the impasse between ASUU and the federal government could be resolved with sincere dialogue.

He said that the issues raised by ASUU should be looked into sincerely by the federal government, while ASUU on their part should be willing to listen to their employer.

The professor opined that Nigerians lacked negotiation skills, adding that people that go into negotiation should always be sincere and willing to shift grounds.

On his part, Mr Unyime Usoro, former Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Akwa Ibom, says that the federal government was “too rigid with ASUU on the issue of IPPIS”.

Usoro said that intellectuals in the government departments should by now have a working formula that would be acceptable to both parties at negotiation table.

He said that all issues discussed should be sincerely looked at and proper solutions taken before ASUU queues in.

“It will be difficult for ASUU to come out when they have queue into the IPPIS. So, it has to be sure that the interest of lecturers is protected by IPPIS system before it joins.

“All over the world, universities solve problem of the society. So, if these people have offered to provide solution to this, why don’t people give them benefit of doubt?

“So, when you want to take them to IPPIS, immediately you enter, you know you will not come out,’’ Usoro said.

Stakeholders in the north-central states have expressed mixed feelings on the face-off with students and parents rooting for an amicable solution to the debacle.

Dr Lazarus Maigoro, Chairman, University of Jos chapter of ASUU, told NAN that UTAS, as proposed to the government by the union, would address the disagreement

According to Maigoro, UTAS will address all the peculiarities in the universities without violating the laws of the land.

“The full implementation of UTAS will naturally bring to an end the impasse between ASUU and the federal government over this IPPIS saga.

“This is because it will take care of all peculiarities in the university system; it will address personnel enrollment, corruption in the system and everything the IPPIS is intended to do, without violating the law establishing universities in the country.

IPPIS is alien to the university Act 2003, and implementing it in the university system will mean going against the law,” he said.

But Mr Jacob Pwakim, a postgraduate student of the University of Jos, said that the lecturers’ refusal to accept IPPIS showed that they were selfish and did not want to be accountable.

Pwakim, who commended the move by the federal government to implement the IPPIS in the university system, said the initiative would not only curb corruption, but would also ensure accountability and transparency in the university system.

He said the quest by lecturers to work and earn multiple salaries led to their rejection of government’s efforts at sanitising the system.

“For me, the move by government to implement the IPPIS in the universities is a noble one; it will not just curb corruption, but it would also address other challenges within the system.

“It is unfortunate that ASUU is rejecting it and the reason is because they are selfish, corrupt and want to work and earn multiple salaries,”he said.

The student, therefore, called on both ASUU and the federal government to reach an agreement, and not to allow the lingering issue to get to the point of industrial action, as students were always the victims of such face-offs.

Similarly, Mrs Jacobeth Fara, a parent, urged ASUU to comply with the directives of the federal government on the IPPIS enrollment, adding that rejecting the move suggested that the union had “something to hide’’.

Fara, a federal civil servant, said embarking on strike over the lingering impasse was unnecessary as the action would only delay students’ graduation and inflict more hardships on parents.

“I think ASUU is just dragging this matter unnecessarily and it is not good for the system.

“For me, they should comply so that peace will reign, because I see no reason why they don’t want the IPPIS to be implemented in the universities.

“I am a federal civil servant, my organisation has been part of IPPIS for long, so, why are the lecturers singling out themselves,?’’ he said.

In Benue, the stakeholders appealed to both the federal government and ASUU to speedily resolve their differences over the IPPIS matter so as to avoid industrial unrest.

A cross section of the stakeholders, who spoke to NAN, said an early resolution of the face-off would be in the overall interest of students and parents.

Mr Timothy Washima, a parent, said IPPIS enrollment should not constitute problems between the government and the union, in the first place.

Washima urged the federal government to call for a roundtable between it and the Dons in order to settle the disagreements amicably.

“The meeting will be a platform where both the government and the union will table what they want and solutions will be found,” he said.

Another parent, Mrs Roseline Terwase, also urged the government to allay the fears of the lecturers on the new payment platform by addressing their concerns.

“It is very simple, what the federal government ought to do is to assure the union that their allowances will be captured.

“What is stopping the government from doing the needful. Why is it forcing members of the union to be captured on IPPIS without addressing their fears.

“However, both of them should come together and resolve their differences for the overall good of the society, because what affects the university system affects a larger population of the society,” Terwase said.

On his part, Mr James Ikpev, a civil servant, advised the government to come to a mutual agreement with the union for the benefit of students and the stability of the university system.

Ikpev, a father of a 400level student of the Benue State University, pleaded with ASUU to look for an amicable ground and come to an agreement with the federal government, saying,” when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers”.

The Chairman of the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi chapter of ASSU, Dr Ameh Ejembi,appealed to the federal government to “listen to the stakeholders, especially ASUU, which is a major stakeholder in the matter”.

Ejembi also urged the government to listen to the voice of reason and accept the alternative pay system suggested by ASSU to safeguard the sanctity of the university system in the country.

In Nasarawa State, a retired teacher, Mr James Peter, urged the dons to enroll into the IPPIS in the interest of peace and for the overall development of the education sector.

” If almost all workers in the country, particularly those in the federal service, have embraced the IPPIS, I see no reason why the lecturers should reject it.

“The introduction of the IPPIS will address the ghost worker syndrome, corruption and will block all leakages,’’ Peter said.

However, Mrs Amina Abdul, a parent, called on the Federal Government to relax its directive on the enrollment of the university lecturers into the IPPIS pending the resolution of the impasse.

“In the interest of our children and the education sector, I appeal to the federal government to have a second look at the reasons given by ASUU not to enroll into the IPPIS,” Abdul said.

Mr Sunday Emmanuel, a student of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, also appealed to the federal government and ASUU to resolve the matter amicably, in the interest of the students and parents.

“I appeal to the federal government and ASUU to come to terms because we, the students, need industrial peace in the pursuit of our education, ” he said.

In Jalingo, Dr John Ajai, an associate professor of Mathematics and Statistics with the Taraba State University, Jalingo, called for understanding between the two parties in the interest of industrial peace.

Ajai, who is also a former Vice Chairman of ASUU, Taraba State University chapter, said that ASUU’s worry about IPPIS was due to the uniqueness of the university system from the other public organisations.

According to him,there are Sabbatical and Visiting professors in the university system and the payment for these peculiar services do not conform with the IPPIS portal designed by the federal government.

Ajai suggested thatASUU and government should come together and develop a system that would take care of the peculiarities in the university system.

“I know that ASUU is not against a central pay system that would checkmate fraud but due to the fact that the university has some services that are different from the other public service

“The solution is to sit on a round table and come up with a version of IPPIS that could fit into the system and at the same time, checkmate fraud in the system.

A similar mixed grill was found in north-east Nigeria with Dr Adamu Babayo, ASUU Chairman, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi chapter, insisting that IPPIS would only erode the autonomy of the university system and stifle research and learning.

“As a union, we have developed our alternative platform that will address the peculiarity of the university system. ASUU is not daring the government on this matter, the autonomy of the university is at stake. Our autonomy is a law and you cannot by mere oral pronouncement set it aside or implement policies that will undermine it,” he said.

He alleged that the policy is a world Bank idea and Agenda, borrowed from the Bank to the detriment of Nigerians.

The ASUU chairman urged the Federal Government to rescind the decision and allow Nigerian universities to operate according to international best practices.

Dr Audu Gani, a public commentator, however, urged university lecturers to comply with the Federal Government’s directive and register on the IPPIS portal.

“The IPPIS scheme was developed to checkmate corruption in the system. We are told that the payroll system has lots of throwbacks for lecturers, but we checked and found out that the claims have no substance.

“Those campaigning against implementation of IPPIS in the universities are being economical with the truth and are not telling their union members the whole truth,” Dr Gani said.

Mr Ezekiel Tumba, a parent, appealed to the Federal government and the university lecturers to work for the common ground for the sake of the students and future of the country.

He said that the government should welcome ASUU’s ongoing innovation of a robust system of human resource management and compensation, as well as the UTAS, under the supervision of IPPIS.

“I believe that measure will address peculiarities of universities and end inappropriate recruitment.” he said.

But a student of ATBU, Bauchi told NAN on condition of anonymity that government as the sole financier of universities had the right to ensure that public funds were accounted for.

“The IPPIS has been implemented in government agencies and the policy has helped to save billions of naira.

“The Federal Government should use the ASUU rejection of IPPIS as a starting point to the dismantling of the unworkable system of managing tertiary education in Nigeria.

“No employee should be able to dictate to their employer the payment system the employer should use.

ASUU goes on strike when they want salary increased, when government wants to implement IPPIS, and for every flimsy selfish reason. ASUU cares only for themselves,” the student fumed.

Reporters/ETS

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Buhari urges ASUU to rescind strike call over IPPIS

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President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to rescind its decision on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and the 14-day warning strike .

Buhari made the call in a message to the 14thconvocation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU) in Awka on Thursday.

The president, whose address was read by Prof. Rasheed Abubakar, the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), said that the IPPIS was in their own best interest.

According to him, the IPPIS was not intended to trample upon university autonomy nor was it designed to subsume universities into the civil service.

He urged them to suspend the warning strike in the interest of students and generality of Nigerians.

Buhari congratulated graduates of the university and urged them to use their skills to contribute their quota to national development.

He also congratulated two Anambra business moguls, Chief Innocent Chukwuma of Innoson Group of Companies and Dr Daniel Chukwudozie, Chairman Dozzy Group of companies who were conferred with honorary doctorate degrees by the university.

The president praised the award recipients for their contributions toward the growth of the nation.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the third awardee at the convocation was the deposed Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who was absent at the event.

Prof. Charles Esimone, the Vice-Chancellor of the universityUNIZIK, in an address said that the 14thconvocation witnessed conferment of 7,650 first degrees, 1,954 post graduate diplomas, 610 Masters Degree, and 339 doctorate degrees.

Chukwuma and Chuwkudozie, in their separate remarks, promised to partner the management of the university in the upgrade of the engineering faculty of the school.

Chukwudozie on his part said he would meet with the management of the institution to know areas of needing assistance.

NAN reports that Gbong Qwom Jos, Dr Jacob Gyang Buba, and Chancellor of the university attended the ceremony among other scores of notable Nigerians.

Edited By: Saidu Adamu/Maureen Atuonwu
(NAN)

 

 

 

 

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Education

IPPIS: Unilorin ASUU begins 2 weeks warning strike action

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ilorin Chapter, has declared to obey the national body and commence a two-week warning strike on Tuesday.

Prof. Moyosore Ajao, the Unilorin ASUU branch Chairman, confirmed to the Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Ilorin that Unilorin would join the industrial action to press home their demands.

Ajao explained that the two-week warning strike is over non-payment of salaries of lecturers who failed to enrol in the Federal Government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

He however said the union would hold an emergency meeting with members in the university on Tuesday, before proceeding with the strike same Tuesday.

NAN reports that the National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, has called on affected members to embark on two weeks warning strike after the ASUU National Executive Council meeting in Enugu.

Meanwhile, the managenent of Unilorin and Corporate Affairs Director, Mr Kunle Akogun, had declined to react to the development.

NAN recalls that the Unilorin has prided itself for its non-interupted academic session for the past 17 years.

The Vice-Chancellor of university, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, has recently stated that the uninterrupted academic calendar of Unilorin is “the hallmark of the University, and it remained sacrosanct”.

He said: “We have enjoyed it for the past 17 years and it has given us an image that draws the largest number of admission seekers within and outside our country to us.”

Edited By: Fela Fashoro/Muhammad Suleiman Tola
(NAN)

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Politics

Senate decries non provision of financial records of IPPIS by OAGF

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The Senate Committee on Public Accounts on Tuesday decried the failure of the Office of Accountant General of the Federation to present the 2015 Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS) financial details to it for scrutiny.

The committees reaction was sequel to questions posed to the Account General of the Federation (AGF), Idris Ahmed, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Public Accounts.

The Chairman of the Committee, Sen Matthew Urohidge (PDP Edo), had requested him to present the statement of Account and mandate of IPPIS to the Committee for vetting which  he failed to do.

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts had requested the documents to assist it in its current probe of the queries raised by the office of the Auditor General for the Federation in his financial statement that raised a query for the Office of the Accountant General.

The Accountant General was represented by  a Director in his office, Mr Adiro Emmanuel, who was unable to provide all the necessary documents pertaining to the IPPIS account put at N2.9 billion.

Last week the Accountant General had told the Senate Panel that the documents were available on-line and that his office could make them available on demand.

But on Tuesday his representative returned without the documents with an excuse that the Office of the Accountant General had requested the documents from the CBN.

The office of the Accountant General was also unable to provide satisfactory response to why Nigeria’s revenue dropped drastically from N200 billion to N165 billion in 2015.

On the query concerning the N596 billion Ecological Fund and why the fund was not invested to yield more money for Nigeria, the explanation of the representative of the Accountant General was deemed not quite satisfactory to the lawmakers.

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund in the Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government, Habiba Lawal, explained that the fund in question did not belong to the Federal Government alone.

Unable to do anything substantial, the Senate Committee had to adjourn the meeting, while mandating the Accountant General of the Federation to within two weeks provide the documents and make himself available to the panel.

Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Donald Ugwu

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IPPIS: ASUU urges FG to adopt University Transparency/Accountability Solution

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called on the Federal Government to adopt the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) suggested by the union.

Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, the ASUU President, made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Sunday in Abuja.

NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that university lecturers must enroll on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

ASUU had rejected IPPIS, insisting that it violates university autonomy and proposed the UTAS as an alternative to government’s centralised payroll system of IPPIS.

According to him, the matter as far as the government side is concerned is still where they left it.

“But we believe our members do not want IPPIS because it is not in the interest of the system.

“So, we are still waiting for government to respond to our proposal for the adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution which we are working on as another alternative to IPPIS.

“The last time we met at the Presidency, we came out with the impression that the IPPIS and ASUU should meet and talk out areas that can be used for both platforms. We thought they bought in to that but we are yet to hear from them.

“We have being reading and hearing in the media that government said it was too late and we do not know what they mean by being too late.

“We have had policies in Nigeria that were reviewed before the new one. So, if you know a policy cannot work and the policy is yet to be applied to the system, it is never too late for government to listen to voice of reasoning.

“Hopefully, we have given them voice of reason because we have found that our arguments are genuine, our arguments are patriotic,” he said.

Ogunyemi noted that there was nowhere in the world where IPPIS is being implemented that universities are put under the civil service, then why should Nigeria be an exception.

He said Nigerian want to be 24th century universities where there would be technical skills in world ranking, saying that we cannot achieve that through IPPIS.

“This is because IPPIS will shut the door against scholars who are to come from outside Nigeria, scholars who are not on pensionable appointment within the system.

IPPIS will bring universities under direct control of the civil service control and the system does not work that way.

“That kind of system will kill innovation, will kill creativity and it will kill academic freedom of autonomy.”

He also threatened that if government touches the salaries of ASUU members, they would take the action of no pay, no work.

Edited By: Olawunmi Ashafa/Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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Education

IPPIS: If FG stops our salary, we will stop work–ASUU insists

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Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)  says it will continue to resist enrollment into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) until the decision is rescinded.

The union threatened that any attempt by the Federal Government to stop members salary, the union would not hesitate to embark on an indefinite strike.

The National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, gave the warning in Nsukka on Thursday while briefing newsmen shortly after addressing ASUU members in the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).

He said enrolling in IPPIS amounted to destroying the autonomy and putting obstacles in the progress of public universities.

ASUU is protecting the autonomy of universities for the interest of Nigerians and generation yet unborn.

ASUU will continue to say no to enrollment into IPPIS and if the federal government stops our salary, we will stop work.

IPPIS is an instrument by government to erode the autonomy of public universities in the country,” he said.

Ogunyemi said that the alternative platform for IPPIS provided by ASUU was better than IPPIS as it was more transparent and university friendly.

“I am surprised that governments refused to allow ASUU to use that alternative payroll platform that is better than IPPIS.

IPPIS is not flexible enough to reflect all the flexibility in universities, “he said.

The ASUU boss described as `unacceptable’ a situation whereby a Vice-Chancellor must take permission from Head of Service of the Federation before employing academic staff.

“Why the universities all over the world are autonomous is because it can recruit academic staff the university needs at any point in time.

“With IPPIS, it will be difficult for any vice chancellor to recruit academic staff as well as for professors outside the country to visit any public university for academics,” he said.

According to him, government said the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) staff were not expected to enroll in IPPIS because they generate money for the country.

“If NNPC and CBN generate money, universities generate knowledge and knowledge is greater than money and so universities should be exempted from IPPIS,” he said.

The president expressed satisfaction on the maximum support from members nationwide, adding that ASUU would not relent in protecting the autonomy of public universities in the country.

“I am in the UNN to update members on issues concerning the union as well as solicit for more support from them.

“I commend academic staff in UNN for the impressive turnout to the meeting which shows maximum support and solidarity for the union,” he said.

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu

 

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Why lecturers can’t enroll in IPPIS – Unijos ASUU chairman

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Dr Lazarus Maigoro, the chairman of the University of Jos chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has said that lecturers can not enroll into the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) because it violates the university Act 2003.

Maigoro said in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday in Jos that the policy did not fit into the university system.

According to Maigoro, the law establishing all federal universities had bestowed on governing councils of the institutions the powers to administer over its administrative, financial and personnel matters.

He noted that government could only change the status quo if it goes back to the National Assembly to repel the existing laws to accommodate the new policy.

He threatened that members of the union would down tolls and proceed on a nationwide strike if government insisted on implementing the IPPIS policy.

“Why we can’t accept IPPIS is because of the retrogressive nature of the payment platform to the peculiar nature of the university system.

“Actually, IPPIS violates the university Act of 2003, where the governing councils are supposed to be the ones to administer over the administrative, financial and personnel of every university.

“With IPPIS in the university, it means government is taking all the functions of councils off them, without resorting to the National Assembly to repel the existing law.

“We have taking our stand on this matter; we insist that the laws of land must not be violated.

“But if government goes ahead with its plan, we will have to down tools; we will also not work,” he said

Maigoro explained that the union, at its National Executive Council (NEC) held in Minna, in December 2019, had made its position known to government on the IPPIS matter.

He said that the University of Jos chapter of the union would abide by any decision taken by its national body.

“We in university of Jos are in line with the position of our national body. We are not accepting IPPIS,” he said.

Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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