- President Buhari has told the leadership of ASUU that enrolment of the union is non-negotiable
- The president made the disclosure when he met the leadership of ASUU at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday, January 9
- Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, however, said that 96,090 out of 137,016, university staff have enrolled for IPPIS
Despite their insistence that they would not comply with the government directive, President Muhammadu Buhari has told members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to support his anti-corruption policy by enrolling in the Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Leadership reports that this was the outcome of the president's meeting with the leadership of the union on Thursday, January 9, at the State House, Abuja.
Legit.ng gathered that ASUU had been vehemently opposed to having its members enrol on the IPPIS system, saying it does not cater for peculiarities of remuneration in the university system.
ASUU president, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, on Thursday, January 9, described IPPIS as “disruptive intrusion’’ which violates university statutes and agreements earlier reached between the union and government.
But, President Buhari, in a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, said the federal government would give more attention to improving personnel and infrastructure of universities to enable them to produce quality graduates.
He also assured that education would, henceforth, be a top priority in the development goals of the country.
President Buhari, who received the Ogunyemi-led ASUU leadership at the State House, Abuja, said effective and efficient operations of universities would go a long way in improving the economy, especially with a focus on science and technology.
The president urged members of ASUU to assist the federal government in realising the target of improved education and credible certificates by complying with ongoing verification and validation of human resources in the universities, which will guarantee optimum output.
“The future of the country depends on quality education and our certificates must be credible to inspire confidence,’’ he said.
President Buhari said constitutional provisions should be carefully studied and adhered to for more harmonious relationships, and standards that will promote efficiency.
He directed the Ministry of Education to put in more effort into ensuring that Nigerian universities are properly funded and that they have adequate infrastructure and staffing.
In her remarks at the meeting, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, said out of the 137,016 academic and non-academic staff members of the universities, 96,090 had been enrolled in IPPIS, urging ASUU to encourage the remaining 40,926 members to comply with the process.
She said a desk had been opened in the office of the accountant general of the federation for registration of university staff, assuring that the peculiarities of the tertiary institutions would be accommodated.
The minister pointed out that many anomalies were discovered in the university structures that had contributed to the increased cost burden, which include staff working and earning salaries in more than one university, contract staff on the payroll of government, tax reductions on a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and multiple employments.
Ahmed said some universities had rushed to recruit more staff before the IPPIS registration commenced, which was then detected.
“While it is clear that ASUU has peculiarities, it should be recognised and rightly accommodated, and the allowances will be made, and not leaving the university out of IPPIS because of the peculiarities,’’ she added.
The secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, urged ASUU to comply with IPPIS in the national interest as his office was already in the process of streamlining all issues of human resources in government.
In his remarks, Ogunyemi, said the educational sector needed more federal government attention, noting that the implementation of agreements reached with the union over the years will go a long way in improving the quality of education in the universities.
“With adequate and effective education, particularly university education, Nigerians will be less susceptible to manipulation, our economy will grow and problems of insecurity and corruption will be drastically reduced,’’ he said.
On IPPIS and university operations, Ogunyemi said the federal government’s visitor initiative to the universities, at least once in five years, was the best guarantee for monitoring accountability processes that include internal and external audit processes.
He said: “The government should welcome ASUU’s ongoing innovation of a robust system of human resource management and compensation, called the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, which will address peculiarities of universities and end inappropriate recruitments.’’
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the leadership of ASUU on Thursday, January 9, met with President Buhari over IPPIS controversy.
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