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Mixed reactions trail IPPIS policy in varsities

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By Gabriel Chy Alonta

Mixed reactions are still trailing the recently introduced policy on the enrollment of lecturers in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) by the federal government.

The members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka chapter, among other universities, have rejected the development.

The chairman, ASUU chapter of the university, Dr. Stephen Ufoaru, said this at a news conference at the end of its congress in Awka.

Ufoaru, who spoke on behalf of the union, said enrolling the lecturers in IPPIS would erode the autonomy of the university system and stifle research and learning.

Ufoaru said lecturers were employees of governing council of universities and that IPPIS would whittle the powers of the councils to run the system and make them function ideally.

“As a union, we will not be part of that exercise, we have developed our alternative platform that will address the peculiarity of the university system and we hope that the federal government will engage us so we can make presentation.

“Until these peculiarities and grey areas are resolved, our stand is that we will not be part of the IPPIS system.

“ASUU is not daring the government on this matter, the autonomy of the university is at stake, our autonomy is a law and you cannot by mere oral pronouncement set it aside or implement policies that will undermine it,” he said.

The chairman said the powers to engage the staff of the universities will no longer be with the councils but with politicians, adding that such would lead to collapse of the system.

The union urged the Federal Government to rescind the decision and allow Nigerian universities to operate according to international best practices.

Meanwhile, another faction of ASSU, the Congress of University Academics (CONUA) has urged lecturers to comply with the Federal Government’s directive to register on the IPPIS and enroll immediately.

Dr. Nwoke Onyebuchi, the National Publicity Coordinator of CONUA, a faction of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), gave the counter directive at a meeting by members of CONUA in Port Harcourt.

ASUU had rejected a Federal Government’s directive mandating workers at its universities and colleges of education to enrol into IPPIS before Dec. 7.

ASUU sued for patience from the Federal Government, promising to develop a new payroll template for universities.

But, Onyebuchi said that rather than wait for a new template, that IPPIS scheme would improve academic system in the nation’s tertiary institutions.

“The IPPIS scheme was developed to checkmate corruption in the system. We have been told that the payroll system has lots of throwbacks for lecturers.

“So, we went into IPPIS to find out what those throwbacks are. But on conclusion of our investigation, we found no substance in the resistance against IPPIS.

“Those campaigning against implementation of IPPIS in the universities are being economical with the truth and are not telling their union members the whole truth.

Onyebuchi said it was untrue statements credited to ASUU, that sabbatical payment was not captured in the new payroll system.

He said that contrary to this claim that IPPIS intends to open a desk in every university to ensure success of the scheme.

Onyebuchi also debunked claims that the scheme would expose universities to civil service bureaucracy.

The unionist said that if properly implemented in universities, that IPPIS would eliminate ghost workers and reduce fraudulent activities in the academic system.

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