The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has pledged its readiness to fully support any step that would eradicate corrupt practices from the university system.
Biodun Ogunyemi, National President of the union, made the pledge while speaking at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Forum in Abuja on Sunday.
He was reacting to accusations that ASUU’s stance against the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), a platform for the payment of workers’ wages, was an endorsement of corruption.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, on October 8, directed all government employees to be enrolled into IPPIS to ensure accountability and curb corruption in the system.
Mr Ogunyemi told NAN Editors that the union had developed a prototype of the IPPIS, called University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which it urged the government to implement rather than the IPPIS.
“In February 2014, after much debate about IPPIS, we told the government our reservations about IPPIS and the uniqueness of the universities.
“We thought they agreed with us; they said we should nominate three people and they will also nominate three persons; and then we should come up with a platform that will be acceptable to ASUU.
“We did not hear anything from them until in July 2019 when ASUU members were asked to enroll into the IPPIS.
“The platform we had in mind is the one we have now started because they pushed us to the point of taking on the challenge.
“ASUU will sponsor the development of that platform which we call University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
“UTAS came about as a way of showing them that we are not against the war against corruption; that ASUU fully supports any step that will nip corruption in the bud,’’ he said.
Mr Ogunyemi, however, said that the union was not in support of efforts to move the universities back the into core civil service.
He urged the government to implement UTAS and develop a system that would be resident in the universities.
“UTAS will give government the opportunity to control and monitor activities and progress of the universities.
“The difference between what they are doing now and UTAS is that what they are doing now is just government information system for payment.
“They just send the wage bill for universities into the university account and they ask them to pay and they monitor.
“In the case of UTAS, all the personnel information and the payroll system will be uploaded and there are about five components which we have segmented and developed.
“Not everybody will have access to all of these, so we are saying that the best way to ensure university autonomy is to develop a system that will be resident in the university; but those in government can have access to control and monitor it.
“This will secure and safeguard the autonomy of the universities and that will also give government the opportunity to monitor what is going on in the system, as regularly as they want to.
“If we had reached an agreement on this matter in 2014, we wouldn’t be discussing IPPIS now.” (NAN)