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Still on the ASUU, FG face-off

Still on the FG, ASUU face-off ,this present government has consistently maintained that they are using this policy to fight and checkmate corruption. 

Sir: It is no longer news that Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has downed tools for about five weeks now. The industrial action which started as a warning strike for an initial two weeks later snowballed into an indefinite action because the federal government was lacking in the virtue of humility to see reason why they should tow the path of conciliation and arbitration with ASUU.

What really are the points of discrepancies between ASUU and the federal government? The so-called Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) idea was not even the brainchild of the Buhari administration. But that does not mean if it is the right and proper thing to do, ASUU should remain indifferent to it. The policy was actually introduced by the government that this current regime took over from; and the same applies to Treasury Single Account and Bank Verification Number. However, when ASUU raised their concerns with the government that introduced it which was on the grounds of the peculiarities associated with academics, that listening government acceded to the concerns of ASUU.

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IPPIS as it is designed and configured is a software (programme) that centralises the payment schedule (voucher) of all MDA’s headed by the federal government save for revenue generating agencies like FIRS, CBN, CUSTOMS, NNPC etc. This present government has consistently maintained that they are using this policy to fight and checkmate corruption. If we choose not to be economical with the truth, where should government beam its searchlight more on, if it sincerely wants to fight sleaze?  Revenue generating agencies or non-revenue generating agencies?

ASUU’s refusal to enroll on the IPPIS platform is not because NNPC, CBN, FIRS or whichever agency, are not on the platform.  ASUU’s contention is that IPPIS lacks the capacity to take care of the peculiarities of universities academics. On this, ASUU has maintained that the software/platform do not have what it takes to pay for services rendered by contract and visiting lecturers, lecturers on sabbaticals, external examiners, etc. And for crying out loud, which university in Nigeria or even in the world for that matter can survive without the categories of services enumerated above? Why make us to lose our universality which is the threshold on which universities world over are founded and managed?

As at the time of writing this, ASUU members have not been paid for three consecutive months running just because its members have failed to enrol on the IPPIS platform. But nobody is saying anything because the conduct of ASUU is overbearing and unbecoming! Even as we are not in ordinary times, nobody has deemed it fit to raise a voice to caution the authorities that they ought to be circumspect and tactful in the way they handle this delicate issue.

Do they actually know the number of dependents on ASUU members in this country? If not sheer hypocrisy and wickedness, what then is the rationale behind this government rolling out palliatives to the citizenry in the form of foodstuffs and cash when lecturers wages are being withheld? Does the federal government know the level of succour that would have come to her citizens by not stopping the salaries of ASUU members no matter the “crime”?

Since April, the federal government implemented a minimum wage increase for all her staffers and the arrears paid up in December but as I write, none of the tertiary establishment of the federal government benefitted from this salary review and no explanation has been given for this. Maybe because we go to separate markets from the rest of the people or this is another way of telling us that all the while we have been receiving spurious and undeserved salary.

Any nation that treats the men in its ivory towers (intelligentsia) with impunity and despise and disdain them, is actually on the path to self-destruct! The chicken will soon come home to roost.

Source:The Nation

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