“FG using lecturers’ wages as hunger weapon” – ASUU

Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has accused Federal Government (FG) of inhumane treatment on lecturers.

The Zonal Coordinator, ASUU Owerri/Port-Harcourt zones, Dr Uzo Onyebinama who disclosed this, added that FG is deliberately using wages of lecturers as hunger weapon to coerce them (lecturers) into Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

In a press release made available to newsmen, Onyebinama described the claims that lecturers have been receiving their wages by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on National Television as falsehood and called for a forensic audit of IPPIS and its administrators.

Onyebinama decried that many lecturers in various Federal Universities are yet to receive their eight months salaries from February to September 2020, adding that many also in Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike and University of Maiduguri are owed five months salaries for April, May, July, August and September 2020.

He further revealed that all other lecturers in other Federal Universities are owed three months salaries for July to September 2020.

The ASUU boss said: “That the honourable minister of Labour and Employment is unaware of these facts is very shocking. His primary responsibility and he should know it, is to ensure that a worker receives his wages as and when due, as a right. The minister ought to impress it on the Accountant General of the Federation, the need to clear these outstanding salaries with immediate effect”.

He added that FG has no excuse for not paying lecturers, having conceded to pay the oil workers through GIFMIS platform, which he told ASUU that he has pulled down.

Recall that ASUU had urged the Federal Government, to adopt University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) over Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and provide the urgently needed revitalization fund for improved infrastructure for teaching and students welfare.

Onyebinama had earlier lamented that failure of the federal government to release the outstanding N1.1 trillion revitalization fund for universities for over six years has crippled research among scholars and constrained the universities to meet the requirements of Covid-19 guidelines due to inadequate infrastructure.

ASUU had embarked on strike action on March 17 2020 to get Federal Government satisfactorily address matters of revitalization of fund for public universities, proliferation of state universities and issues of governance in them, and the conclusion of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN- ASUU agreement.

These they maintained, were issues in the February 7, 2019 memorandum of Action (MoA).

They called on well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on government to do the needful and save the university system.

Onyebinama maintained that ASUU’s ongoing struggle is for an improved university system for the transformation of Nigeria, noting that UTAS a web-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) recognizes all agreements entered into between the federal government and university-based trade unions; ensures simultaneous payment of employees salaries and third-party deduction; allows for centralized monitoring of staff and staff employment across universities by National Universities Commission (NUC), allows university to adopt to the fluidity in nature, type and period of recruitment of staff; and facilities storage and automated retrieval of personnel records for effective monitoring among others.

They decried that the deployment of IPPIS in the universities has brought unprecedented suffering among ASUU members within the zone and beyond.

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