The Academic Staff Union of Universities has appeared set for a major showdown with the Federal Government following the decision to stop the salaries of the lecturers over refusal to enrol in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
Vice-President of ASUU, Comrade Emmanuel Osodeke, who told TribuneOnline in Abuja that the Union was not aware of any decision to stop the salaries of lecturers not on IPPIS, however, warned against the consequences of such action by the government.
The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the meeting of President Muhammadu Buhari with the leadership of ASUU in Aso Rock, Abuja over the stalemate, after months of horse-trading between the Federal Government and ASUU on enrollment on IPPIS.
The adamant position of ASUU after the supposedly reconciliatory meeting made it clear to the government that some lecturers, especially from universities were not ready to enrol on the IPPIS platform.
The decision to consequently stop the payment of salaries of higher institutions’ lecturers yet to enrol in IPPIS was conveyed by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
A letter from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation dated January 23, 2020, and addressed to the Minister of Finance and National Planning requested the stoppage of the release of funds for the payment of salaries of the affected academic staff.
The letter titled ‘Request for Stoppage of Release of Funds for January Salaries to Federal Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education” read: “I am directed to inform you that preparation of January 2020 salary payroll and warrants of the federal tertiary institutions are ongoing and will be ready for submission on or before 29th of January, 2020.
“This is to give the effect of the directive of the Federal Government that all ministries, departments or agencies drawing personnel cost from the Consolidated Revenue Fund should be enrolled on the IPPIS.
“In order to actualise this directive, you are please requested not to release the funds for payment of salaries to tertiary institutions as their salaries will henceforth be paid on the IPPIS platform with effect from January 2020.”
Efforts to contact the ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi proved abortive as his mobile line was unreachable but the ASUU Vice-President, Osodeke, when contacted said the Union was not aware that the salaries of lecturers had been stopped.
He, however, said appropriate action would be taken when the Union is duly informed. “We know what to do when we get there. Until we get there, there is nothing I can say for now”.