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ASUU/FG Feud: Finance Minister Insists On IPPIS, Fayemi Intervenes

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Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance n75 billion
Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance

The Federal Government on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, insisted on the use of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System, IPPIS, for the payment of university lecturers’ salaries.

Zainab Ahmed, the finance minister said the IPPIS would remain in use until the University Accountability and Transparency Solution, UTAS, undergoes expert verification.

The minister spoke when she appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance.

UTAS, developed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, is a prototype of the IPPIS, which the union urged the government to implement rather than the IPPIS.

ASUU on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, said its ongoing strike is the only way to rescue public universities from being crippled.

Addressing journalists at the ASUU Secretariat at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, the Coordinator of the Lagos Zone, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, said the Federal Government was in arrears of over N200 billion of revitalisation fund for public universities.

He said rather than make genuine efforts to resolve the strike, the government has found the situation “very comfortable”, with students facing the risk of being at home till next year.

He accused the government of resorting to “blackmail, intimidation and propagation of falsehood to the public in a bid to push the blame on ASUU”.

Chairman of ASUU-OOU, Dr. Joel Okewale; Chairman, ASUU-Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), Abeokuta, Dr. Adebayo Oni, and Chairman, ASUU-University of Lagos, UNILAG, Dele Ashiru, were present during the briefing.

Sowande said ASUU would not be distracted by blackmail in its resolve to get funds for the revitalisation of public universities.

The union insists on the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement, the payment of illegally withheld salaries and check-off, payment of Earned Academic Allowances, EAA, the constitution of visitation panels, and stoppage of the proliferation of universities.

He enjoined the public and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to do the needful and end the strike, now in its seventh month.

Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi urged ASUU to end the strike in the students’ interest.

He made the appeal in Ado-Ekiti while hosting members of the Board of Trustees of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, led by its Chairman and former Niger State Governor,  Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, in his office.

He said: “We need to get to a point of convergence with ASUU, but I also think ASUU should begin to look at this from the position of their importance. It is the children of ordinary Nigerians who attend the local universities.

“So, even if it is for the sake of ordinary Nigerians who have children in these universities and cannot afford to send their children to private universities or abroad, ASUU should call off the strike.”

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