The Academic Staff Union of Universities will this week decide whether or not to call upon its members to proceed on a nationwide strike following the decision of the Federal Government to stop salaries of lecturers who have not enrolled in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
Its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting was held at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology in Enugu. Some of the issues tabled before President Muhammadu Buhari during a meeting with ASUU leaders on January 14 at the Presidential Villa in Abuja included the “forceful” enrolment of its members into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
It was learnt that the Federal Government would this week pay February salaries of its workers, including university lecturers, who had registered on the IPPIS.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zanaib Ahmed, in an interview at a management retreat in Kano on Thursday, had said lecturers who did not enroll for the IPPIS would not get their February salaries.
President Muhammadu Buhari, had in October last year directed all Federal Government workers to enroll in the IPPIS to ensure transparency.
But ASUU kicked against the directive on the grounds that it negated the principle of autonomy of universities.
The union directed its members to shun government officials sent to universities between October 25 and November 7, 2019, for the purpose of enrolling workers in the IPPIS.
On Thursday, the finance minister said 55 per cent of ASUU members had registered for the IPPIS, saying, “the ones that have not are not getting their February salary.”
A source at the Enugu meeting of ASUU said the lecturers had been asked to go on strike if their salaries were stopped.
The Chairman of ASUU at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Dr Christina Opata, in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday, also said lecturers at the university were waiting for directives from the leadership of ASUU at the national level.
She said, “They started on Saturday and by the end of today’s meeting (Sunday), the body will come up with a decision.”
The ASUU branch chairman said the integrated payroll system was defective and full of corruption.
She said, “The Federal Government has not told Nigerians the truth about what it wants to achieve through the IPPIS because the IPPIS is an embodiment of corruption itself. There is evidence to prove that many people are on the payroll under IPPIS yet they are not working anywhere. If they are sincere they should decentralise it.
Each university should have desk officers so that anytime somebody has a complaint, it doesn’t require the person going to Abuja; you walk over to the desk officer in your university and put up your complaint. But as it is now, if you go to Abuja you will hire a hotel and you may spend three, four days without meeting the officer in charge. These are the things that people have been pointing out but they don’t want to understand it that way.