ASUU Strike

ASUU Strike

Dr U.D. Chima
Chairperson,  ASUU UniPort.

Still on ASUU Strike

Some months ago a report released by Nigeria's  Auditor-General of the Federation (AGoF) unequivocally stated that the operation of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) is fraught with fraud and has cost the Federal Government (FG) billions of naira. Few weeks after the release of the report of the AGoF on IPPIS, the Head of  Service of the Federation, raised an alarm exposing the fraud that characterize IPPIS when she publicly declared that over 500 ghost workers were discovered on IPPIS. Just last night, the same FG started praising IPPIS alleging that it has helped to save billions of naira by eliminating ghost workers despite the recent outburst of the Head of Service of the Federation that IPPIS is a den of ghost workers. What a paradox! 

This unconscionable equivocation and prevarication by the FG is simply an unfortunate and unconscionable ploy to promote IPPIS which is currently undergoing integrity test for the first time despite several years of its adoption and deployment.

The Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) is a payment platform developed and sold to the Nigerian Government by foreigners for the payment of salaries of her employees. 

The payment platform (IPPIS) was forced on the the Federal universities for the payment of workers' salaries in February 2020 despite the fact that ASUU had warned that it will further exacerbate the deplorable condition of our Federal universities. Since the forceful deployment of the IPPIS for payment of salaries in Federal universities, there has been so much pandemonium as staff are arbitrarily omitted from the payroll; third-party deductions for staff welfare are not done in some cases or done and withheld; adjunct, visiting and sabbatical placements are almost impossible; employment of lecturers can no longer be done without approval from the Head of  Service and the Account-General of the Federation. 

Following the shortcomings and the loopholes that characterize IPPIS as identified by ASUU ab initio, ASUU in agreement with the FG developed an alternative payment software/platform- UTAS (University Transparency and Accountability Solution) which captures the peculiarities of the University System, at no cost to the Federal Government.

It is very unfortunate that the FG has continued to use IPPIS for the payment of universities' staff salaries despite the humongous irregularities and fraud that characterize it, instead of giving ASUU a pat on the back for providing a solution via indigenous technology. 

As I write, not less than 20 academic staff in UniPort are being omitted from the IPPIS since the last 2 to 27 months, for no fault of theirs. One of us who was unjustifiably dismissed from service in 2017 has not been recaptured on IPPIS two years after his recall since 2020. At the moment, he is being owed salaries for over 54 months. These staff have families and several financial responsibilities, and this ugly situation cuts across Federal universities in Nigeria.

The arrears of the minimum wage consequential adjustment that the FG announced that it paid the workers in Federal universities about five weeks ago was so messed up that over 1000 staff of the University of Port Harcourt are yet to be paid five weeks after the deceptive announcement The payment was messed up via the same IPPIS that the FG is praising now. When they first made the payment about five weeks ago, over half of the staff in UniPort did not receive payment. It was learnt that the original list submitted by the University for the payment was messed up by the operators of the IPPIS to the extent that names of persons that have nothing to do with UniPort appeared on it. The shameful display of incompentence on the side of the operators of the ineffective payment platform was not restricted to the University of Port Harcourt alone. Chairpersons of different branches of ASUU confirmed similar ugly incident in varying degrees.

Staff of some specialised universities especially the Universities of Agriculture were completely omitted; not a single staff was paid.

Just about a week ago, an attempt to pay the numerous workers omitted from the first payment exposed further the irregularities that define the IPPIS. Majority of those who were paid when the first payment was made, were paid again while many of those not paid initially were completely omitted. What is currently ongoing is an attempt to clear their poo poo. A 'lien' has been placed on the affected accounts with those that have not been paid left despondent and at the mercy of reversals and recoveries from those accounts that were credited twice by the operators of the almighty IPPIS.

Now that FG has started praising the IPPIS despite its condemnation by the Auditor-General of the Federation and the Head of Service few months ago, and the palpable inefficiency, irregularities and loopholes that characterize it, perhaps it will score above 100 percent after the ongoing integrity test so that it can be rated above UTAS that scored 99.3 percent after the second integrity test that the FG subjected it to.

What a country! We are curiously watching.



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