The Federal Government said October remains the deadline for all ministries, departments and agencies of government to enrol in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System(IPPIS).

The Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, in a statement, described ASUU’s opposition to the compulsory migration of all federal government staff to the IPPIS as an “open endorsement of corruption”.

“ASUU opposition to IPPIS is an open endorsement to corruption in the Nigeria University system as the IPPIS platform will not allow employment of workers at will without compliance to due process on employment.”

He noted that the IPPIS, a policy of government for which President Muhammadu Buhari directed that all MDAs drawing their salary from Consolidated Revenue Funds should join by the end of October 2019, was aimed at saving costs and wastages.

The AGF advised ASUU members to enrol before the deadline, adding that members of other unions have enrolled.

“To meet the deadline of government, the process of enrolment is on-going; we, therefore, urge all university staff to ensure they enrol on to the IPPIS platform.

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“It is a known practice all over the world that employees are entitled to their salaries and wages as at when due. That notwithstanding, there is nowhere employees dictate to their employers as to how he or she should be paid as being dictated by ASUU.”

ASUU meanwhile continued its campaign against IPPIS, with its president Biodun Ogunyemi telling the Senate on Monday that “the IPPIS is a scam as it creates more problems than it solves”.

Ogunyemi, at a meeting with the Senate leadership said the IPPIS would undermine universities’ autonomy and infringe on academic freedom.

He said with the recent experiences of other MDAs that implemented the IPPIS, vis-à-vis the peculiar nature of universities, ASUU members across different universities had reservations about the imposition of the IPPIS on them.

“One of the biggest challenges of IPPIS is that it poses a great threat to our national security. The system is not strategic for a sovereign nation in a world system where almost all countries are vulnerable to sabotage by international cyber criminals and states.

“Once such sabotage happens, the entire country would be plunged into confusion and dysfunction. This has happened before and can happen again.

“It will constitute an impediment in the way of the ability of the universities to provide staff for new programmes as well as replace staff. This is because new staff members cannot be paid salaries until they are enrolled into the IPPIS database, which will take months to actualize.

“The IPPIS system only recognises staff members that are on permanent and pensionable appointments. Universities are universal in outlook in terms of recruitment of staff and student intake.

“The introduction of IPPIS is not backed by law. The Union’s position is that there are extant legal provisions and negotiated agreements arising from the nature and peculiarities of Nigerian universities, which make IPPIS unnecessary and inapplicable to the universities.’’.

He said that the goal of IPPIS according to the Accountant-General of the Federation was to ensure transparency, accountability and probity with specific objectives.

“The objectives include centralisation of payroll systems of the Federal Government, facilitating easy storage, updating and retrieval of personnel records for administrative and pension processing.

Ogunyemi said “the proposed forceful enrolment of staff of universities in the IPPIS would amount to subjecting the universities to the direction and control of Office of Account General of the Federation ( OAGF) with respect to the payment of staff remuneration, salaries and wages.

“It should be noted that IPPIS is not a home-grown initiative; rather it is a prescription of the World Bank.

“Its ultimate consequence is to create anarchy and therefore, retard the growth and development of Nigeria’’.

He said that if the government wanted to curb corrupt practices through the payroll and personnel management, the best pathway was to make the Governing Councils work.

“The exercise of the power of the Visitor, in respect of the visitation exercise as explicitly stated in law which ASUU has continued to advocate, should be activated.

“Nigerian universities have capacity to develop their own platform in place of IPPIS with different levels of control which can be accessed periodically to assess compliance with the regulations on transparency and accountability by each university’’, he said.

In his remark, Lawal said:“we are all in this together and we believe that the Nigerian education sector especially the tertiary needs serious support.

“We know that you have made some sacrifices and that you have put in your best with the little given to you.

“The legislature is always prepared to take necessary steps to ensure that the tertiary institutions remain open and functional.

“I’m happy that you have made your point and I’m also happy that the federal Ministry of Finance is thinking of addressing the issues as well.

“I will like to know how they intend to do it. I’m meeting with the Minister of Finance to tell us what exactly is to be done because we do not want any strike’’.

The president of the senate further said that the truth was that there was poor funding but the National Assembly would do its best at this stage.