By Oluseye Ojo
IBADAN – The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is preparing to shut down academic activities in universities across Nigeria, following the October deadline for all employees of the Federal Government in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to enroll in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information Systems (IPPIS).
The Federal Government through a presidential directive had said MDAs that failed to enrol on IPPIS by the end of this month, would be denied their due emoluments.
The ASUU Coordinator, Ibadan Zone, Dr. Ade Adejumo, who was supported by the union’s chairman and investments secretary, Prof Deji Omole, and Prof Ayo Akinwole, respectively said during a press conference on Sunday that the IPPIS failed to capture the peculiarities of Nigerian universities and its weaknesses would culminate into serious problems for members of ASUU when each of them attains 60 years of age.
Ibadan Zone of ASUU comprises University of Ibadan, University of Ilorin, Kwara State University, University of Osun and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH).
According to Adejumo, “IPPIS is too rigid a platform that discountenances the peculiarities of the university system in the sacred areas of replacement or recruitment of academics, mobility of academic staff for visiting, adjunct, part-time and sabbatical offers.
“Not only these, academics are chopped off the platform at the age of 60, thereby creating bottlenecks in the collection of salaries and emoluments because once the name of a staff is removed, such victim will continue to frequent Abuja until it is rectified.
“The victim, not only abandons his duty post, but faces the hazards on the Nigerian roads among others. The platform also does not capture the Earned Academic Allowances and remunerations due to academics who retire before the age of 65 and promotion arrears.”
Adejumo stated that the IPPIS clearly violates the Universities Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Act 2003, which provides in section 2AA unequivocally, that “The power of the council shall be exercised, as in the Laws and Statutes of each university and to that extent, establishment circulars that are inconsistent with the Laws and Statutes of the university shall not apply to the universities.”
The IPPIS, he said further, contravenes the ASUU-FGN Agreements of 1992, 2001 and 2009, adding that paragraphs 5 to 10, 1992 ASUU-FGN Agreement stated that the universities should be allowed to operate in compliance with their enabling laws, statutes, rules and regulations in conformity with due process and within the laws of the land.
“Similarly, item four of the 2001 agreement with government, while stressing the Powers of University Council reiterated that: “Circulars from ministries shall be deemed invalid to the extent that they are inconsistent with the Laws and Regulations of the Universities and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Then in the 2009 ASUU/ FGN agreement on page 25 states in absolute terms that “Each university shall arrange its own cost-saving measures.”
Adejumo said ASUU had been able to expose the mischief or ignorance of Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) “in its reckless statement that by opposing IPPIS our union endorses corruption.
“Ordinarily, we need not have bothered about the vituperations of the OAGF because the stance of our union against corruption is in the public domain.
“However, the OAGF needs to answer this pertinent question: If, indeed, millions of naira have been recovered through the IPPIS, from where have those monies been recovered and who are the culprits that have been sanctioned for such infractions?
“Our union, before now, has been on a long stretch of endurance on account of government’s recalcitrance, deceit and unwillingness to renegotiate the agreement it voluntarily signed with our union in 2009.
“You will agree with us that between 2009 and now our members have suffered untold hardships and deprivations, the university system has also continued to suffer and disintegrate. It now appears that government is taking the endurance of our members for weakness in its planned forceful enrolment of academics in Nigerian Universities on the IPPIS.
“Our union will not allow this government to continue to treat our members, who by their proficiencies are the best brains in the land, with disdain and disrespect. We will protect the sanctity of the laws of the land, particularly as they relate to the areas of our calling.
“To this end, our members are poised to pursue another patriotic struggle that will assert sanity in the university system and in the country at large. The tools of the struggle are now being primed and oiled; the union will have no blame when they begin to grind.” (The Sun)