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By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA

THE Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, has said the recent alleged discovery of N80 billion in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, AGF, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, vindicated its opposition to Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS.

Reacting to the alleged fraud, in a statement, Thursday, by its president, Dr
Smart Olugbeko, the union insisted that it would not change its preference to the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS against the federal government’s preferred payment platform.

In the statement, tagged:” On UTAS We Stand”, the union of lecturers of the nation’s colleges of education, said:”Insistence on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) by the FG constitutes a ridiculous contradiction to the acclaimed anti-corruption posture of the present administration.”

“The recent letting open of the can of worms in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) where the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFCC) has uncovered a fraud not less than the whooping sum of eight billion naira (N8b) sufficiently vindicate our Union’s position that IPPIS is a fraud.

“Apart from undermining the statutory functions of the Governing Councils and breaching the establishment integrity of the tertiary education sector in general and the College of Education system in particular, IPPIS opens the payroll up to unilateral manipulations and cool fraud.

“In fact, we dare say that the N80 billion discovered by EFCC is merely a tip of the cankerous iceberg of wanton fraud enabled by the questionable pay platform,” the statement read.

Açcording to COEASU,”The FG has no more excuse for the continued delay in migrating academics in tertiary institutions to the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), the ingenious alternative pay platform innovated by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).”

” UTAS adequately addresses our concerns on payroll security and the peculiarities of the tertiary education system in general. It should be adopted for the entire academic staff in the tertiary education sector as it takes care of the peculiarities of the institutions including financial autonomy, sabbatical service, administration of discipline and fraud prevention,”it explained.

The statement read further: “In the last year, our COEASU has received complaints from more than one thousand academic staff in Colleges of Education in Nigeria who have had their salaries stopped, mutilated and or delayed.

“IPPIS arbitrarily stopped the salaries of some lecturers for four months in 2021 and the salaries have not been paid to date despite all efforts made to get the salaries paid. IPPIS is notorious for making third party deductions from workers’ salaries for cooperative associations, Union dues, special contributions etc. without remitting the deductions.

“The IPPIS office in Abuja is daily besieged by vice-chancellors, rectors, provosts, bursars, Union leaders and workers to lodge one complaint or the other. This has led to the wastage of manpower and resources.

” The end of every month brings fear as we do not know the ‘style’ of payment IPPIS will unleash on us. In February, this year, our salaries were further reduced by IPPIS without any justification. This charade calls IPPIS must stop!

“We used to be surprised why the government is not bothered by the injuries the pay platform inflicts on us on monthly basis and by the government’s refusal to adopt UTAS, a payment platform that should be of pride to Nigeria until the discovery of fraud-prone IPPIS as evidenced in the discovery of a monumental fraud in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

“For the umpteenth time, the union is calling on the Federal Government to adopt the home-grown UTAS developed by ASUU as a payment platform for academics in the tertiary institutions in Nigeria.”

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