The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Sunday directed its members nationwide to disregard a circular from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to enrol academic staff on the Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System from Monday (today).
ASUU stated that the same Accountant General of the Federation had challenged the union to develop a template that accommodates the peculiarities of academic staff and present same to him.
ASUU has said the Federal Government needs to test its own model of ensuring financial transparency rather than forcing its members captured on the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System which opened on Monday (today).
The ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, stated this on Sunday in an interview, adding that the enrollment of lecturers was like taking universities back to the core civil service.
Ogunyemi insisted that its members will not take part in the registration for the IPPIS, adding that such step by the Federal Government would undermine the autonomy of Nigerian universities.
He said, “We have proposed to the government that we have an alternative that will address all the issues that the government has raised about universities.
“The government needs to test our own model rather than buying into a model that will take universities back to the core civil service. With IPPIS, before a Vice Chancellor can employ an academic worker, the VC will have to get permission from the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
“Universities cannot be run within the framework of civil service bureaucracy. Universities are universal cities of knowledge creation and they can perform best when they are allowed to operate their system based on the laws establishing them.
“We signed a memorandum of action with government earlier this year and they promised that they will start visitation by March this year. Government didn’t do anything. This is November. When people say ASUU is encouraging corruption, it is cheap blackmail.
“We will destroy Nigerian universities with IPPIS if government should go ahead and force people to enroll. You can’t bring lecturers from all over the world and ask them to go and register in Abuja in the ministry. It is ridiculous. We have gone beyond that. They are taking us many decades back. It is sad.”
The Chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan chapter, Prof Deji Omole, stated that the union’s leadership was still in discussion with the Federal Government and helping the government to develop more robust template.
The ASUU boss said no member should appear before the Accountant General team until further directive from the union.
While stressing that ASUU supports the fight against corruption, he nevertheless said it would resist an attempt by government to trample on existing university autonomy act.
ASUU urged members to remain steadfast and stand firm to protect public universities by not filling any form or submit their bio-data for enrollment into the IPPIS.
“We are not slaves that can be subjected to routine humiliation from the Office of the Accountant General. No nation has ever developed or survived through the humiliation of her intellectuals. United we bargain, divided we beg,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has deployed officials from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to tertiary institutions in the country for the capturing of university workers into IPPIS platform.
The exercise which is expected to commence on Monday (today) and end on December 7, is being conducted by the IPPIS Department in the OAGF led by its director, Mr Olusegun Olufehinti.
Officials in the OAGF office told our correspondent on Sunday that despite ASUU’s opposition, there was no going back on the exercise.
One of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a meeting was held on Friday to brief those that would conduct the exercise.
He said, “The Federal Government has made its position clear that it would ensure that every of its workers must be captured on the IPPIS platform.
“By tomorrow (Monday), our officials will move to the tertiary institutions and start the process of capturing and it is expected that we will get the cooperation of all stakeholders there.”