By Hilary Akalugwu
Nsukka (Enugu State) – A lawmaker, Dr Emma Ugwuerua, on Tuesday urged the Federal Government not to stop the salaries of members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), who failed to enroll under the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Ugwuerua, representing Nsukka West in Enugu State House of Assembly, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Nsukka on Tuesday, saying that the advice became necessary to avert a nationwide strike.
He urged the government to further dialogue with ASUU over the unresolved issues concerning IPPIS.
IPPIS is a department in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation responsible for the payment of salaries and wages directly to government employee’s bank accounts with appropriate deductions and remittances of third party payments.
Federal government insisted ASUU members should enroll under the system to ensure deductions accruing to government were duly collected but ASUU argued that the enrollment would violate the university autonomy.
Ugwuerua appealed to the government to consider the interest of students, who would be at the receiving end, should ASUU embark on an indefinite strike.
“Government should avoid anything that will disrupt academic calendar in public universities.
“Students will suffer because those who are supposed to graduate this year may not graduate while many will be idle at home,” he said.
He urged the government to consider the security implication of a nationwide ASUU strike and do everything within its powers to avert the looming strike.
He said the government should consider the point made by ASUU that members’ enrollment under IPPIS would violate university’s autonomy and explore other ways to resolve the problem.
Also, the President, Students Union Government, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Mr Fortunatus Chimezie, urged the government to continue to negotiate with ASUU on the issue in order to avert the proposed strike.
“It pains me that for any slightest provocation by government, ASUU will go on strike without considering the future and interest of students,” he said.
Mrs Stella Urama, a retired principal of Urban Secondary School, Nsukka, said that incessant strikes in public universities were largely responsible for most half-baked graduates.
“For quality of education to improve in public universities, government should avoid anything that will disrupt the academic calendar as well as give education sector the desired attention.
“Some of our graduates are half-baked because whenever a strike is over, some universities hurriedly conduct exams for students without taking time to lecture them for the time lost during the strike.
“Government should continue to dialogue with ASUU until the issue of IPPIS enrollment is amicably resolved,” she said.