ASUU Explains Why It Hasn’t Called Off Its Strike

ASUU President (middle) Prof Biodun Ogunyemi and other members of the union
ASUU President (middle) Prof Biodun Ogunyemi and other members of the union.

Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it is yet to call off its ongoing strike action because it is waiting for the government to conduct an integrity test on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) – a salary payment platform created by the union.

ASUU has long rejected the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) over fears of inconsistency.

President of the union, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in an interview with ThePunch stated that;

The integrity test will be handled by NITDA. It is government that will facilitate it because NITDA is a government agency. And unless you get clearance from the government, that test cannot be conducted.

On whether government has accepted UTAS, Ogunyemi said;

We are still talking, we have given them the position of our members, we are thinking we should be able to hold a meeting this week if they have not changed plans. The meeting for Monday was postponed. In principle, they have accepted UTAS and told us to go for the test, and on our part, we have started the process.

He added;

We had presented UTAS at three levels, starting with the Ministry of Education, Senate President and members of his team, officials of Ministry of Finance and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, where all other stakeholders were present, including NITDA.

All stakeholders have witnessed the presentation and the next stage of integrity test is what we are moving into. If government facilitates it, it is not something that should drag for too long at all.

ASUU President expressed;

We don’t foresee any problem with UTAS; it also depends on how early the government makes it possible for the integrity test to be conducted.

Ogunyemi also explained that ASUU is ready to resume academic activities if the government is ready to play its part, stressing,

Our members are ready to resume work as early as government is ready to play its part. I’m sure you are not suggesting that our members should resume on empty stomachs or the strike should be suspended without any concrete action on the side of the government. We don’t like to stay away from our work because we like our students, they are also our children.

The ASUU boss noted;

We have not seen enough reasons to believe that they don’t mean what they are telling us but as soon as we see any sign to that effect, we will tell Nigerians.

In early October, Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, said the federal government is ready to work with ASUU’s payment platform.

Ngige added that after ASUU‘s UTAS goes through the government’s integrity test, it will be presented to users like the office of Accountant General and the National Information Technology Development Agency ( NITDA), before being forwarded to the office of the National Security Adviser.

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