By Bashir Bello – Katsina
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, have on Wednesday drawn a battle line with the Federal government over the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as the union threatened to implement no pay, no work if the government insists on stopping the salaries of the universities staffs for not joining IPPIS.
This was as it said the attempt to forcefully enroll staff of the universities in the IPPIS is not only illegality but also violates university autonomy.
The Zonal Coordinator, ASUU Sokoto Zone, Jamilu Shehu disclosed this while addressing newsmen in Katsina on ASUU’s stand on the controversial Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) Saga and the neglected renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement.
Shehu added that the union may not guarantee industrial peace if the government insists on the implementation of IPPIS and refuses to renegotiate the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement.
According to him, “ASUU is bothered that IPPIS violates the provisions of the Establishment Act of all Federal Universities. More so, contrary to the law expressly backing the Governing Councils of each Federal University to exercise full control over the finances of the universities, IPPIS lacks constitutional backing, neither is it supported by an Act of the National Assembly.
“ASUU wishes to clarify the fact that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, OAGF, has no constitutional authority to direct the affairs of universities with respect to the payment of staff remunerations – salaries and wages/allowances and the likes. This responsibility resides with respective governing councils of universities. This is why the Auditor-General does not directly audit the accounts of Federal Universities. Therefore, the attempt to forcefully enroll staff of universities in the IPPIS is not only illegality, but it also violates university autonomy.
“IPPIS is in contrast with the Federal Government’s agreement with ASUU. You may recall that, in all the engagements of ASUU with the FGN since 1992, the criticality of university autonomy to the efficiency of the Nigerian University System, NUS, has always been stressed.
“Paragraph 5.10 of the 1992 FGN/ASUU agreement states that: “It was agreed that the Universities should be allowed to operate in compliance with their enabling laws, statutes, rules, and regulations in conformity with due process and within the law of the land”. This position has subsisted in all agreements.
“ASUU holds the view that fighting corruption in the University system requires seriousness on the part of government rather than the adoption of half measures. The government’s inaction or failure to implement the outcomes of the visitation exercises has instead provided the stimuli for corruption. IPPIS is therefore not an appropriate mechanism for fighting corruption in the system.
“ASUU wishes to remind the general public that the Federal Government of Nigeria signed an agreement with ASUU in 2009 to exposition our universities to facilitate the rapid development of the country by holistically reversing the systemic decay in tertiary institutions. The agreement was due to be reviewed every three years. After a lot of struggle by the union, the FGN accepted to renegotiate the agreement in 2017 and thereafter constituted a government team led by Dr. Wale Babalakin. However, the seeming reluctance of the federal government to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion is frustrating.
“ASUU is determined to oppose any policy that is aimed at thwarting the educational advancement of the country. It is in this regard that ASUU is vehemently opposed to IPPIS, and if the government insists on stopping the salaries of the university staff for not joining IPPIS, the Union’s policy of No Pay, No Work will definitely be implemented.
“However, if the government insists on the implementation of the IPPIS and refuses to renegotiate the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement, ASUU may not guarantee industrial peace.
“The union, therefore, appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians, parents, and guardians to join us in pressurizing the government to rescind decisions that are capable of igniting industrial disharmony,” Shehu said.
The Zone comprises of universities such as the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University, UMYU, Federal University of Dutsinma, FUDMA, Uthman Danfodio University Sokoto, UDUS, Sokoto State University, SSU and Kebbi State University.