By G9ija

As the federal government-ordered enrolment of university lecturers into the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) enters its third day thursday, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has proposed an alternative to the controversial payment platform, which has pitted it against the government.

ASUU National President told reporters wednesday that the union was waiting for the federal government to approve it and to also call it for dialogue on its proposal.

He, however, reiterated the union’s position that none of its members has so far enrolled into the federal government’s payment system and the union would not change its position to reject IPPIS.

Ogunyemi added that it is only the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawal, that had approached the union and promised to intervene on the matter.

“We have not changed our position. We have proposed to government to give us opportunity to present our alternative to IPPIS but they have not responded. We are waiting for the Senate President who has promised to look into the matter,” he said.

When asked to comment on reports that some of the lecturers have enrolled into the IPPIS scheme, Ogunyemi said: “You can go and check in the universities yourself. As far as I know, our loyal members are not registering with IPPIS, they understand what our positions are and why we insist on it,” he said.

Speaking on the IPPIS, the Chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan chapter, Prof. Deji Omole, told reporters that no lecturer at the University of Ibadan has defied ASUU’s directive over IPPIS.

Omole said the university was part of the decision by the leadership of the union not to enroll into the IPPIS, stating that there is no way they can go against the decision.

He stated that no member of the union would registrar into the scheme, noting that that was the decision of the congress held on Monday.
He said: “We are part of the decision not to register and as far as ASUU in UI is concerned, we would not register. One thing that we must not lose sight of is the fact we are not slaves and not second class citizens; we are scholars.”

The Chairman of ASUU, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi chapter, Dr. Adamu Babayo, has also vowed that no amount of misinformation, misrepresentation, intimidation or harassment will make the union succumb to pressure and enroll into IPPIS.
He said during their meeting on Monday, their rejection of the scheme was reaffirmed.

“Our position as a union is a total and comprehensive rejection of the Accountant General on registering our members,” he added.
Babayo explained that nobody has come to ATBU for any biometric capture of their members “not to even start talking of capturing our biometrics and there is no going back in whatever they do.”

Asked if they would bow to pressure if the salaries of its members are stopped until they are enrolled into the IPPIS, he said the government had stopped their salaries several times in the past but the issues were processed by the union and solved.
He denied the existence of a faction in the union, saying the masterminds of the faction are on suspension.

Also, ASUU, Benin zone, has vowed not to comply with the federal government’s directive to key into the unified payroll system.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, the Zonal Chairman of ASUU comprising Edo, Delta and Bayelsa States, Prof. Fred Esumeh, said members of the union had been directed to shun the enrolment.

The University of Benin chapter of ASUU has also vowed to resist any attempt by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation to force its members to register with the IPPIS.

A statement titled: “IPPIS – The Truth of The Matter,” signed by its Chairman, Mr. Monday Omoregie Joy and Secretary, Mr. Fabs C. Amaechina in Benin City, said compelling its members to register with the IPPIS would negate the autonomy of the Nigerian federal universities as enshrined in the Universities Amendment Act 2003 (also called Universities Autonomy Act No1., 2007) as it would fail to accommodate the peculiarities of the Nigerian university system.

“For the avoidance of doubt, ASUU UNIBEN remains an integral and unwavering party to the collective decision of the union to resist the forcible implementation of IPPIS by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation as (I) it is in gross violation of the autonomy of Nigerian federal universities as enshrined in the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Act 2003 (also called Universities Autonomy Act No1., 2007). And (II) it fails to accommodate the peculiarities of the Nigerian University System (NUS)”, the statement said.

The statement alleged that IPPIS was driven primarily by selfish interests and motivations rather than the much vaunted claim about fighting corruption.

At the University of Ilorin, the ASUU Chairman, Professor Salihu Moyosore Ajao, told reporters that “our members would not enroll into the IPPIS because it is unconstitutional and illegal.

“We are going to fight it till the end and if it is strike that can resolve it, the members of ASUU in this university would join other universities in the country.”

Ajao accused those behind the IPPIS of seeking the collapse of the university system.
He, however, advised the federal government to listen to the words of wisdom from the Senate president so as to move the education forward in the nation’s universities.