Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Federal Government said it was willing to adopt the University Transparency and Accounting Solution (UTAS), the preferred payment system proposed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), if it passed its integrity test.
This was part of the outcome of a dialogue between the Federal Government and ASUU to resolve the lingering dispute that had led to university lecturers downing tools for months.
At the end of the meeting held at the instance of Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, in Abuja, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, said government’s acceptance of UTAS would be dependent on it passing of a series of integrity tests that it would be subjected to.
“A demonstration of it would be done on Wednesday at the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation. Other relevant agencies of governments, like National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) would also assess it. It is a stage-by-stage process.
“We are continuing next week. After the test on Wednesday, we will reconvene in the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Thursday. We will then convene again on next Tuesday or Wednesday for a final decision,” he said.
Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, called for a speedy resolution of the impasse saying students staying away from school for too long posed enormous danger to the society.
He called for understanding and accommodation on both sides, as the danger inherent in the situation went beyond education. “It borders on security as well, with the attendant adverse effect on the society,” he said.
At the meeting were principal officers of the senate, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, representing Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, and the leadership of ASUU, led by its president, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi.