The federal government says continued closure of universities occasioned by the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is giving a boost to the ongoing nationwide protests of #EndSARS.
It also clarified that it is not considering to replace the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) with University Transparency Account System (UTAS) as reported in some sections of the media recently.
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Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who stated this in Abuja at the ongoing reconciliatory meeting between representatives of ASUU and government decried the prolonged strike that has paralysed academic activities in tertiary institutions across the country.
Ngige said, “For the past one week, we have all been on our toes, we have been meeting and we pray that this meeting will yield some good fruits. We don’t take very great pleasure, to the fact that the children who are supposed to be in school are being recruited into the #EndSARS, #EndStrike, #EndSWAT and all the kind of situations.
“As much as possible, we will try to see how we can meet ourselves halfway, so that we can resolve this crisis to the benefits of all and the country at large.”
He disclosed that government has commenced the process of testing UTAS which ASUU members claimed it accommodates the peculiarities of university systems, adding that all the three stages of test will be concluded within the time frame the union gave government.
According to him, “We have had the preliminary report and test-run on the UTAS, which is the University Transparency Accountability Solution. We believe that with that, we will be able to get it right.
“Let me make it clear to members of the press, we never said UTAS will replace IPPIS as some of you are reporting, No! The UTAS developed by them is for the University systems and they feel that it captures the peculiarities that are configured to accommodate all the peculiarities of the University systems especially as it affects the Professors and other teaching staff, and even the Non-Academic Staff. That is the situation.
“We, as government feel we are going to put it up for tests – three stages of test. We have done the first stage of test which is within the timeline of six months that ASUU promised. We are going to do other integrity test, Alpha test, Beta test and the one they call roll-over and other whatever test. It is the technologists that know all those tests. But this is the round we are going on now.”
ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who led the union’s delegation to the meeting, said Nigerians, including members of the union, expect so much from its leadership, insisting that it would not do anything that will jeopardize rights of its members, students and the country as whole.
Those who attended the meeting which started at about 3:10pm include: Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; Chairman Senate Committee on Tertiary Education, Senator Ahmed Baba-Kaita; Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Adamu Rasheed and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo.
The meeting later entered closed-doors and it was still ongoing as at when this report was filed.