The recent meeting between ASUU and the Federal Government to end the lingering strike action was stalled because the Federal government unilaterally refused to pay the withheld salaries through other legitimate means than Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
From the onset, ASUU had vehemently opposed the use of IPPIS which was approved by the government. During the meeting with the FG, represented by the Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, there was deadlock on reaching a mutual agreement on how to pay the outstanding salaries owed the lecturers, as most lecturers are yet to be on the IPPIS platform.
According to the National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, there was no way workers whose salaries have been withheld for months could be convinced to return to work without being paid. In his words,
“The first step to resolving the impasse is for the government to pay the withheld salaries of our members. It is between four and eight months. You cannot tell a person whose salaries have been seized unjustifiably to go back to work. Moreover, the salaries must be paid through the normal channel,”
As most members of the ASUU members are not yet on the IPPIS platform, the ASUU boss said the government should know better how to handle them.
According to him, “Doing that would help in resolving other issues and make things return to normal. But for the government to insist on IPPIS, there may be trouble still. They are yet to enroll over 70 percent of our members on IPPIS.
“It will take them between three to six months to do so. They are setting a booby trap saying we should enroll on IPPIS first and then they will migrate us to our own University Transparency and Accountability System – UTAS; that is even uneconomical when UTAS can be used to enroll us in a very short time”
What you should know
ASUU has been on strike since March 2020 over some issues such as:
- Payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAE).
- Revitalization of the university system
- setting up Visitation Panels to universities.
- Fulfilling conditions included in the 2004 agreement reached between the two sides amongst others.
ASUU and the FG have held several meetings which have always been deadlocked, as a result of disagreement over the payment channel for the ASUU members.
It is believed that the large turn-out witnessed at the hijacked #EndSARS protests across the country was made possible as a result of the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU).