By Jethro Ibileke
The Benin Zone of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has accused the federal and state governments of engaging war strategy of starvation under the radar of Integrated Personnel Payroll (IPPIS), by withdrawing the salaries of its members.
The body in a statement endorsed by its Coordinator, Prof. Fred Esumeh, and five others, described the forceful application of IPPIS by the federal and state governments as a deliberate ploy to cripple the Nigerian University system.
The Benin Zone comprises of University of Benin (UNIBEN); Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma; Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko (AAUA); Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology (OAUSETECH), Ondo; Delta State University, Abraka (DELSU) and the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE).
Giving the background of what led to the indefinite strike declared by the national leadership of ASUU, Esumeh blamed the strike on the federal government’s forceful application of IPPIS and refusal to implement the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreements and the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the government voluntarily entered with the Union and other demands aimed at addressing the rot in Nigeria education system.
“Consequently, the Zone views government’s insistence and forceful application of IPPIS, even when the Union is in discussion with government representatives, as a deliberate ploy to cripple the Nigerian University system.
“The Zone calls on government to stop the war strategy of starvation by paying our members salaries,” the statement said.
Esumeh further stated that the irregularities experienced by affiliate Unions in Nigerian Universities like SAANU, NAAT, and NASU members in the payment of February 2020 salaries, have lend credence to ASUU’s position that “IPPIS has failed all forms of integrity test, as the platform or software for the payment of University workers.”
He, therefore, urged the government to retrace its step and embrace the proposed University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), being developed by ASUU members to pave way for smooth running of public Universities in Nigeria.
Esumeh explained “that indefinite strike is against our students or the parents, but, it is to compel the federal government to do the needful by providing a decent learning environment and improve the quality of Nigerian graduates.
“Some of our members who went to enrol on IPPIS have started running to us for help. There was a case when a Vice-Chancellor who enrolled on IPPIS was paid N57,000 as his monthly pay instead of over a million naira.”
The Benin Zone of ASUU, therefore, urged the government to pay its members’ salaries in the interest of justice.