Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta
The leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Lagos zone comprising of Lagos and Ogun states has described the federal government directive on Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as it affects federal universities as draconian, unconstitutional and one that negated laws that establish universities hence, the decision to reject it in its entirety.
The Coordinator of Lagos Zone of ASUU, Prof Olusiji Sowande at a press conference held at Federal University of Abeokuta (FUNAAB) Abeokuta noted that the directive mandating the universities to be on the IPPIS platform violated university autonomy as enshrined in the university amendment act of 2003 which vested the running of the university in the hand of the Governing Council and not the office of Accountant General of the federation.
ASUU argued that in addition to 2003 university amendment act, the 1992 Act establishing the Federal Universities of Agriculture, Section 8(1 and 4) of the first schedule states that “Subject to the provisions of this Act relating to the visitor, the Council shall be the governing body of each university and shall be charged with the general control and suprintendence of policy, finance and property of the university. The Council shall ensure that proper accounts of the University are audited annually by an independent firm of auditors approved by the Council….”
The union disclosed that aside the release of approved budgetary provision, the office of the Accountant of the Federation has no business in the suprintendence, financial control and cost saving measures in the Universities saying the power solely resided with the Governing Council.
The university lecturers have thereby rejected the federal government directive that any of its employees not captured by the IPPIS platform by October would no longer receive salary saying it would use all legitimate means to resist this illegality that seek to circumvent the law as all university staff are deemed employees of their respective council
The union also described IPPIS policy as a breach of ASUU and federal government agreement of 1992, 2001 and 2009 part of which read that “circulars from ministries shall be deemed invalid to the extent that they are inconsistent with the laws and regulations of the Universities and the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria” 2001 ASUU-FGN Agreement (item iv under Powers of Council)
ASUU described as very mischievous and irresponsible for the Accountant General of the federation to have asserted that their opposition to enrollment of university staff into IPPIS was an open endorsement of corruption in the Nigerian university system calling out on the AGF to rather get busy cleaning the rots in his office where nothing happens unless something exchanges hand.
The union said “We believe that the intention of IPPIS rather than reduce corruption is to centralize payroll and escalate corruption by some elements in government”.
The body also said that it was rejecting IPPIS because it inadequately captured the peculiarities of Nigerian universities such as replacement/recruitment of staff, movement of staff, promotion of academics in Professorial cadre, retirement age of 65 and 70 years for academics who retired before reaching Professorial cadre and those on Professorial cadre, remuneration of staff on sabbatical among others adding that the IPPIS was deficient in terms of programming and expertise required to cater for the workings of the university system.
ASUU warned that while it was not disposed to doing anything that would again disrupt the university academic calendar, it would use all legitimate means to compel the government to do what was right calling on well meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to respect the laws governing the country’s university system.