The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Tuesday reiterated that it will not capitulate to the implementation of IPPIS (Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System).
ASUU in a statement said:
“No amount of manipulation, intimidation and victimisation of ASUU members shall make us retract our rejection of IPPIS or buckle on the full implementation of the MoA of 7th February 2019.
“ASUU, as the only active vanguard in the defense of our university system will continue to stand firmly in the face of oppressors, those whose only ambition is to sound the death knell for our public universities in order to deprive the poor their only opportunity to freedom and power”.
The Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is a project initiated by the Federal Government (FG) in the Nigerian public service sector via the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
The IPPIS was introduced to adequately prove the effectiveness and efficiency of payroll administration in the government’s Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).
Prior to its implementation by the FG, it was outlined that the IPPIS would accurately and reliably provide the overall personnel information as required by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF).
Three days ago, ASUU published an article by Ibrahim Abdukadir, Chemistry Department
ABU Zaria, stating that IPPIS is not as fail proof as the Government claims:
How does government react to ASUU’s demand for it to respect and honour all the MOUs and MOAs it signed with ASUU, they come up with IPPIS. Enroll or you don’t get paid your salaries. Why do we need this now? Oh yes, we do!! they retort. We need to streamline government payroll; we want to reduce waste you see. Members of ASUU are on multiple salaries. VCs inflate their payrolls and IPPIS is going to detect ghost workers, blah blah blah …. But government officials have not been forthright with the public as to why they insist on enrolling and paying university workers using the IPPIS platform.
For starters, IPPIS is not that foolproof system that they want you to believe, in fact, there have been several documented instances where IPPIS has either been breached, or has been used to carry out organized fraud in government’s payroll (watch Brekete family for 23rd Aug. 2019 on YouTube for example), plus there are extant mechanisms for a more wholistic fight against corruption in the extant university laws which government has never explored.
As to whether IPPIS is adequately programmed to take care of the peculiarities of university workers, I think ASUU has been sufficiently vindicated from the way IPPIS wobbled and flopped the last two salary payments to tertiary institution workers. But why does government insist on using IPPIS for payment of universities workers’ salaries despite all the complaints and all the problems it has encountered so far. Why do they want to have this platform lord over universities and university workers?
IPPIS is a tool for repressive control. Government may claim that forcing university staff to enroll on the IPPIS platform is not in a bid to erode university autonomy and exert targeted control on university workers but the same government withheld university lecturers’ salaries for 2-7 months in a show of repressive force.
We hear senior government officials spew hate towards ASUU, they do not like the fact that ASUU defends the rights of the poor to quality education by demanding that our universities be fixed. They would rather have those ‘pestering’ members of ASUU tamed and repressed so that they could no longer raise a finger against government’s insouciance towards education.
IPPIS comes in very handy for this purpose. By imposing IPPIS on academic staff, government intends to temper ASUU’s ability to exert pressure on it to do the right thing as government will be able to withhold staff salaries in a twinkle of the eye without the option of paying those salaries whenever the strike is called off (read Prof. Munzali Jibril’s interview to have an idea).
This means that government does not have to negotiate with any union that decides to go on strike for whatever reason, all they need to do is withhold members’ salaries, pretend they don’t even know that there is a strike and then wait on and see how long members can endure the pains of starvation. If you have any inkling as to how long it takes for an ASUU strikes to be declared, the pains they endure in order to try to get government to sit with them, the months of lies, disdain and scornful treatment which they endure from government officials before a strike action is contemplated, you will agree with me that governments intentions are less than noble in seeking to have control over university staff salaries.
Governments concern is not to fix the universities, but rather to fix the union, ASUU, which has constituted itself into a thorn in government’s flesh. If government succeeds in forcefully enrolling ASUU on the IPPIS platform, you can rest assured, it will be welcomed to the world of ‘exceptional and uncheckable irresponsibility’.