The meeting between the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) in Abuja on Thursday evening was adjourned, with the Federal Government proposing a merger of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System(IPPIS) and ASUU salary payment system.
Before the meeting went into technical session, Ngige said the meeting was called because of the two-week warning strike declared by ASUU, insisting that the union erred by not properly informing government of the action.
At the end of the meeting which lasted around four and a half hours, Ngige said, “We had a fulfilling discussion. We used the Memorandum of Action which we entered into in February 2019 and looked at issues that were not fully addressed. We moved to the non-caption of some ASUU members on IPPIS platform which resulted in the withholding of their salaries.
“Both sides realised we are working for our country. ASUU already has the University Transparency and Account System. We had preliminary agreement to accommodate the two systems. ASUU will have to get back to its members and agree on how to couple the two systems. We will continue discussion. After ASUU consults with its members and decision making authority, we will meet on Monday or Tuesday.”
On his own part, ASUU president, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said the issues discussed came from outstanding issues which had tended to be overshadowed by IPPIS.
He said: “From the discussion we had, we have agreed that we will go and consult. We cannot pronounce on the proposals that came up until we consult with our members. We will leave it there for now.”
In a speech he made before the technical session began, Ogunyemi, told the minister that IPPIS was a distraction created by government to divert the union from its actual agitation.
Meanwhile, ASUU has said the February salary of its members have not been paid.
Ogunyemi, who stated this while speaking with journalists after thw meeting, noted that the union expected the government to consider its alternative model – the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, which was presented to the President Muhammadu Buhari earlier in the year.
“The February salary of our colleagues have not been paid up till now. So, we have reasons to believe that IPPIS has to do with it. So if you (the government) are going to implement your IPPIS, then it means that you are not even ready to consider what we came out with when we met President Buhari,” he said.
Ogunyemi scolded the Federal Government for its actions, saying Nigerians must not allow the fate that befell public primary and secondary education in the country to catch up with public universities.
“By their acts, Nigerian politicians are killing the Nigeria’s university system. They have done it to primary and secondary schools,” he added.