Kingsley Abavo, Benin

 

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ASUU has threatened a fight to finish if the Federal Government refuses to back down on its decision to forcefully enrol its members on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

Spitting fire, it said this becomes necessary, as Government seems bent on having its way even when IPPIS did not capture the peculiarities associated with the University system.

ASUU, Benin Zone arising from an enlarged meeting on Wednesday at the University of Benin declared its stand in a statement signed by the Zonal coordinator, Prof. I. Esumeh, Chairman UNIBEN, Dr. Monday J. Omoruyi, Chairman, AAU  Ekpoma,  Dr. (Barr.) Monday L. Igbafen,  Chairman,  AAUA,  Dr. Simon Ehiahbi,  Chairman, OSUTECH, Dr. Dipo Akomolafe, and released to journalists.

According to the body, some of the peculiarities not captured by IPPIS include; non provision for lecturers in the College of Medicine serving as honrary consultants in Teaching Hospitals thus cannot be paid for such services; Non provision for an academic going to another University for external examination and getting remunerated, among others.

The body noted that IPPIS contradicts the autonomy of Universities as enshrined in the “University Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Act 2003.

Condemning Government decision it said IPPIS is “illegal and a rape on the autonomy of the University system.”

Adding that it is a mere policy of government being championed by the Office of Accountant – General of the Federation therefore, “cannot and should not take precedence over a law.”

The body views IPPIS as Government deliberate ploy to damage the already fragile state of Nigerian Public Universities. “The Zone therefore calls on government to immediately retrace its step.”

Also, it seeks conclusion of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement. Failing, the Union would be left with the option of industrial action as it was running out of patience, it threatens.

Responding to journalists questions Coordinator of the zone, Prof. I. Esumeh said “With the bureaucracy in the Civil service, the University system does not need such bureaucratic process  because the University system is organised to be flexible and pragmatic.

“By that, there could be movement of Staff. You may be an expert in an area and when it comes to the bridge, crossroads, you can be asked to go give your expertise in another University, the IPPIS will not take care of you.

“Look at our colleagues, Staff of the University who are Consultants in the Teaching Hospitals. Take for instance the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), IPPIS does not accommodate their roles and functions as Consultants simply because the platform recognises one person. You can’t pay one  person twice.

Esumeh however acknowledged that some of ASUU members have been enrolled into the IPPIS but through deceptive processes, he pointed out.

Hence the federal government cannot go ahead with partial implementation of the IPPIS due to non compliance with the directive by members, he declared.

The body said it was mobilising its members for a possible total industrial action if Government fails to back pedal on its decision.

But ruled out legal option in the pursuit of justice, saying that “Government does not honour agreement, and court orders.