President Buhari

By Victor Young

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate payment of the withheld February and March salaries of members of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, who have not registered on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information, IPPIS, platform.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said: “President Muhammadu Buhari has today (Tuesday) approved the immediate payment of the withheld salaries of February and March 2020 of the university lecturers, who have not registered on the IPPIS platform.

“He has also directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning, and the Accountant-General of the Federation to effect the payments urgently by all means to cushion the deleterious effects of COVID-19 period on the lecturers and members of their family.

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“All vice-chancellors are to revalidate affected lecturers’ Bank Verification Number, BVN, and forward same to the Accountant-General of the Federation for the payments.”

Recall that ASUU had, last month, declared an indefinite strike over government withholding of the salaries of its members, who defied the order of government to enroll in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll System, IPPIS.

While ASUU declared an indefinite strike, the government closed down all schools as part of the measures to contain COVID-19.

Recall that the Union’s President, Biodun Ogunyemi, had said: “The Nigerian government has chosen to use hunger as a weapon of war against its academics and we are not going to sit and watch.”

Though the ASUU members included the age-old non-implementation of agreements reached with the Federal Government dating back to 2009 and aimed at fostering better conditions of service for its members and the upgrade of Nigerian universities, the main sticking point was the deadlock over IPPIS.

The Federal Government had enrolled everyone under its payroll into this scheme in order to fight ghost workers and arrest corruption at source.

But ASUU members had stubbornly refused to embrace this because, according to it, IPPIS is an “imposition” by the World Bank.



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