ONDO, Nigeria – The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA. branch, has again appealed to the Federal Government to shun its planned move to include university lecturers into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
According to the union over the weekend, the Federal Government should consider the alternative offer from the University lecturers, known as Nigerian Universities Transparency and Accountability System (NUTAS).
In a statement issued and signed by the branch Chairman of ASUU in FUTA, Dr. Olayinka Awopetu maintained that NUTAS will also adequately take care of all the claims of the Federal Government on lPPlS, the Universities autonomy laws as well as the peculiarities of the university Academic Environment.
Awopetu expressed the unions contempt for corruption and stressed the need for the Federal Government not to truncate the autonomy of the University system or reduce universities to local communities or
arms of Federal Ministries.
Awopetu stated in the statement that “while ASUU is not averse to transparency and accountability to the Nation, including the university system, we believe this can be achieved in a way that will not truncate the autonomy of the University system or reduce our universities to local communities or arms of Federal Ministries.
“Hence, the need for the Federal Government to consider the alternative offer from ASUU, which will adequately take care of all the claims of the Federal Government on lPPlS, the Universities Autonomy Laws as well as the peculiarities of the university Academic Environment. This alternative ls called Nigerian Universities Transparency and Accountability System (NUTAS)”
He premised the stand of the FUTA branch of the union on some factors saying “the IPPIS as presently structured is centralized. This is inappropriate for any University system. In this case, ASUU FUTA believes that a distributed system is more suitable than a centralized system.
“A distributed system whereby each University manages its database, and the mirror is available to the Federal Government, ensures a peer review as well as checks and balances.
“This will ensure that the autonomy of the university system is sustained while making the outcome available as a minor to the employer for planning as claimed by the Federal Government.
“Information Technology, upon which the IPPIS is built, has rated distributed systems above centralized systems because distributed systems are more fault tolerant, secure, transparent (because of peer review) and easily take care of scalability while making resource sharing easier and more effective.
“A centralized system is prone to more corruption than a distributed system. This is further reinforced by corruption cases already discovered within a short time of test running of IPPIS, like the report of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation claiming that OAGF was unable to provide records covering about N23 billion in the IPPIS operation transaction accounts”
He said further, “also, in June 2017, EFCC arraigned three persons on multiple count charges, led by a staff of Soft Alliance (Onukaogu Onyinyechi Esther) who added her name and those of her two siblings (Joshua and Jennifer) into the IPPIS database as staff of Federal Ministry of Education and Federal Ministry of Works respectively.
“The amount paid on them was N9.7million. To ask pertinent questions. why is government hell bent on coercing ASUU into joining the IPPIS? Can Government provide a list of the MDAs that have not even joined IPPIS?
“ASUU FUTA feels that the FGN‘s claim that some academics are working in multiple Universities is mere cheap blackmail. Assuming, without conceding, that an academic is working; in one Federal university and two or more state or private Universities. there is no way the current IPPIS would be able to detect the act as IPPIS is only for Federal Universities. ASUU is in a better position to solve such a problem, If allowed.
“Our findings on the experience of staff in ministries and parastatals who are victims of IPPIS are better imagined. An example is the Nigerian Police Force, which once called on the President and EFCC to investigate IPPIS.
“The idea of having desk officers for IPPIS across the country ls belittling a serious matter of over centralization of the University system.
“It is ironic that in this 21st century when Government should be thinking at freeing the University system of government bureaucracy to make it more attractive to academics from all over the world, Government seems to be strengthening the bureaucracy thereby devaluing University system the more”
FUTA branch of ASUU however, advised government to be very careful of embracing foreign ideas without proper fine tuning for domestication.
They maintained that IPPlS should be investigated without delay to unravel the endemic corruption being perpetrated within the IPPIS system itself.
Recall that the Federal Government had recently directed that public sector workers, including universities must be captured on the payroll system to save cost and fight corruption by blocking leakages in its salary payment structure.