The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says the federal government is calling for more crisis in the Nigerian university system with its ‘forceful’ directive on Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Olusiji Sowande, coordinator of Lagos chapter of the union, stated this in a statement made available on Thursday.
The federal government had recently issued a directive for the implementation of the IPPIS for the payment of salaries of all federal government workers.
The directive, from President Muhammadu Buhari, had mandated that any federal government worker, not registered on IPPIS, will not be paid salary, starting from October 31.
But reacting in the statement, the academic body stated that the stipulations of the IPPIS was sharp and contrasting to the laws regulating the university system and therefore cannot be said to be applicable to its members.
Sowande said the directive by the office of the attorney general of the federation (OAGF) that all employees of the federal government in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) was an invitation for further disruption of the country’s university system.
He stated that while it was not opposed to transparency and accountability in the management of public funds, the union would vehemently oppose any attempt by the federal government to forcefully impose directives on it.
“The Presidential directive that all employees of Federal Government in MDAs that fails to enroll in IPPIS by October would not receive salary is not in line with the establishment laws of the Universities and it’s a ploy to forcefully enroll our members into IPPIS. By the establishment law, University staff are employees of their respective Councils,” the statement read.
“Therefore, the said directive cannot be applied to Universities. The notion that Government is Council and Council is Government as being argued by AGF is incorrect as all members of the Council are not government appointees. It is our sincere believe that the President will not violate his Oath of Office to abide by the Constitution and the Law of the land when he stated during his swearing into office “…that in all circumstances, I will do right to all manner of people, according to law…” Therefore, where there is conflict between the law and policy/directive, the law takes precedence.
“While our Union is not opposed to accountability and transparency in handling public funds, we shall resist any method that violates our agreement with government and that which sets aside the enabling laws, regulations and statutes of the Universities.
“The intention of government through the OAGF to forcefully enroll University staff into IPPIS without considering the peculiarities of the University and their enabling laws is not acceptable to our Union and it’s a glaring call for further crisis within the Nigerian University System.”
ASUU also called on the federal government to honour its 2009 agreement with the body which borders on how to revamp universities across the country and make them globally competitive.
The union stated that government’s seemingly insincere approach to fulfilling promises made to the body would only results to further cracks in the country’s university system.
“The deliberate truncation of the process of renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement is of great concern to our members. Government should not stretch our patience and understanding to the elastic limit,” the union said.
“It is not our wish that the academic calendar would be disrupted again within a short time. Our members are extremely agitated and are ready to use all legitimate means to compel government to do what is right. Patriotic and well-meaning Nigerians are called upon to prevail on Government to respect the laws governing our Universities and not only resume the renegotiation process, but speed it up.
“Sincere and positive response of Government will prevent another round of crisis in the Nigerian University System. Our Union should not be held responsible for any avoidable disruption of academic and other activities in the Nigerian Public Universities if Government fails in its responsibilities.”
The union had previously said it was preparing for another confrontation with the federal government over planned imposition of IPPIS on its members.
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