The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is standing its ground to resist the decision made by the federal government on the October 1 deadline for stopping salaries of workers not enrolled on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) and this could lead to strike action.
ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, in an interview with Saturday Tribune, said that IPPIS was a violation of the Universities Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2003 which made provision for the autonomy of the universities.
The Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, had accused ASUU of encouraging corrupt practices in the universities over its refusal to enroll in the IPPIS after several meetings on the issue.
Ogunyemi denied the claims, stating that the union had not and would not support corruption but would resist any attempt to take away the autonomy of the universities as stated in the law.
Nothing is farther from the truth; ASUU has never and will never support corruption. What we are saying is that the IPPIS they are talking about violates universities’ autonomy. He noted that in a presentation made by ASUU on
the 8th October 2019 at the National Universities Commission (NUC) just about two weeks ago, the union asked
for permission to develop an alternative to IPPIS.
We explained this in a presentation we made at a meeting on the 8th of October this year at the National Universities Commission about two weeks ago. We made our position clearly known to them that if they give us permission, we could develop an alternative to IPPIS. IPPIS as they have it means the erosion of universities’ powers to control and regulate their personnel and the payroll system. While drawing their attention to universities’ autonomy, we quoted copiously from the Universities Miscellaneous Provisions Amendment Act 2003.
The Act is available online, you can go there and confirm. There is a section in that act that says that the power of
The council shall be exercised as in the law and statues of each university. And to that extent, establishment circulars that are inconsistent with the laws and statutes of the university shall not apply to the universities.
We made that clear to them and we even referred to other sections in that act that talks about Council controlling
personnel cost, overhead cost, research and development, library development and of course, the balance
in expenditure between academic achievements and academic activities.
When you have a law that says this; and they are also saying that because government releases the money, the government must control it from the center. Nothing works that way because there is a law which tells you that you cannot regulate personnel of universities directly from the center.
Let me tell you one thing, by law, the Federal Government is not the employer of university academics. The
employers are their respective Governing Councils. This is what the law says. “This matter has been settled
in law courts. What the law expects is that the government should release funds to universities and Governing Councils should manage resources of the universities.
The law also permits that where a Council is found to be incompetent or corrupt, that Council should be dissolved
immediately and another Council should be reconstituted. To this extent, we believe that there are checks and balances within the system. So, if the Governing Councils have been doing what they were expected to do, and we have been shouting and talking about this over time.Biodun Ogunyemi – tribuneonlineng.com