BENIN Zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), yesterday, said the Federal Government was using hunger to compel its members to enroll in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
It expressed doubt over Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige’s capacity and commitment to resolve the issues that led to the ongoing strike in the country’s tertiary institutions, due to Ngige’s approach in the handling the strike, which it said, might not end any time soon.
In a statement issued in Benin City by the Union’s Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Fred Esumeh, the union said that since the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), Ngige has been talking like a spoiler and anti-ASUU agent rather than a conciliator.
Esumeh said by the provisions of the law Ngige, was be playing conciliatory role during industrial unrest, calm tensed situation and bring about a peaceful resolution, but he has chosen to be the mouthpiece of other unions that were not part of the 2019 MoA.
He accused the government of introducing the IPPIS to divert public attention from the lack of sincerity and will to implement agreement reached with ASUU, insisting on the union’s rejection of IPPIS, given its violation of the University Autonomy Act and its inadequacies to carter for the peculiarities in the university system.
He maintained that on account of IPPIS and UTAS imbroglio, government had withheld salaries of ASUU members for months, even when the union met with timelines agreed with government to develop UTAS amid challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ASUU also alleged that the Federal Government represented by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Ngige and the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) of deploying hunger to coerce its members to enroll on the IPPIS platform.
It added that this move of government smacks of impunity and it is undemocratic in a democratic setting and reminded Ngige that democracy, which Nigerians and himself were now enjoying thrived on the rule of law, insisting that adherence to the law was sacrosanct.
The union, therefore, urged Ngige to calm frayed nerves of its members and facilitate the payment of their salaries instead of playing to the gallery and violating the laws of the land, especially as they affect university education.