Although biometric and anti-corruption features of the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS) makes it popular, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will resolutely sustain its members opposition to it.
According to ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said that any attempt to forcefully capture lecturers on the payment system will make Nigeria a laughing stock among nations.
He insisted that its members will not take part in the registration into the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS) which opened on Monday, for workers in universities and colleges of education.
However, a rival group, Congress of University Academics (CONUA) has directed its members to embrace the payment system.
Emphasizing its resolute opposition, ASUU maintained that enrolling in the payment system as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari will only undermine the autonomy of Nigerian universities.
According to Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU has proposed a model for the government to test.
He said that enrolling into the government payment system will take Nigerian universities back to the bureaucratic and unproductive civil service processes.
“Our position has not changed. We have no reason to change our position because to do so is to subscribe to a move that will undermine the autonomy of our universities and we believe that and we have proposed to the government that we have an alternative that will address all the issues that the government has raised about universities.
“Government needs to test our own model rather than buying into a model that will take universities back to the core civil service. With IPPIS, before a vice -chancellor can employ an academic staff the VC will have to get permission from the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
“Universities cannot be ran within the framework of civil service bureaucracy. Universities are universal cities of knowledge creation no innovation and they can perform best when they are allowed to operate their system based on the laws establishing them.
“The autonomy law that we have been talking about today recognises the peculiarity of universities and that is why they said Governing Councils should be the employers of academics, even up to the vice-chancellors, it is the governing councils that employ and not the civil service. To now say lecturers will have to get clearance from civil service before they can do what they can do.
“It is ridiculous and it will make Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of nations if the federal government should forcefully migrate our colleagues to IPPIS.
“They are talking of corruption and we have shown them that there are three levels of checking corruption in the system. There is the internal audit, there is the external audit that is imitated by the governing council an there is visitation which is to be imitated by the visitor.
“If internal audit system is not working well, the external audit system which the governing council is expected to do should be able to check any fraud in the system and where that one also fails, government should exercise its power by visiting the universities at least once in every five years. That is where the federal government is lacking. The last visitation they did to universities was eight years ago and in the last three years we have been shouting, we have been appealing to government.
“We signed a memorandum of action (MoA) with government earlier this year and they promised that they will start visitation by March this year. Government didn’t do anything. This is November. When people say ASUU is encouraging corruption it is cheap blackmail.
“If we allow this thing to happen we will localise Nigerian universities. That will discourage people that we can attract from all over the world to come and contribute to the development of our universities so that we can take enviable position in global ranking.
“People are complaining that Nigerian universities are not ranking high. One major criterion of ranking is diversity of lectures and students. When you now treat everybody as part of your civil service, imagine somebody from Cambridge will go to Abuja to go and do data capturing for just three months.
“Our colleagues in teaching hospitals have shown us that even when you enroll you can’t get your salary until three to four months after. Imagine somebody that came for short stay of two to six months that means that person will go without pay.
“Nigerians should understand our perspective. Nigerians should encourage a situation that will localise our universities at a time everybody is talking of internationalisation.
“We will destroy Nigerian universities with IPPIS if government should go ahead and force people to enroll. You can’t bring lecturers from all over the world and ask them to go and register in Abuja in the ministry. It is ridiculous. We have gone beyond that. They are taking us many decades back. It is sad,” Ogunyemi stated.