As the disagreement between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) degenerated last week leading to a two-week warning strike by the university teachers, Nigerians have implored the two parties to be flexible in their positions to facilitate a speedy resolution of the conflict.
The concerned Nigerians urged the government and university lecturers to place the interest of the nation and students affected by the impasse well above any other consideration.
While the Federal Government insists on paying salaries to only lecturers that have enrolled into the IPPIS platform, the lecturers have vowed to resist IPPIS which they opined is a fraud.
In the place of the IPPIS, the lecturers have offered its option – the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) – a model it said would tackle the unwholesome issues around wages payment, which government says IPPIS will eliminate.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, while insisting on IPPIS, warned that lecturers not enrolled into its portal would not be paid salaries, and she actualised the threat by withholding the lecturers’ February salaries which ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, cited as the immediate cause of the latest round of strike.
The warning strike, Ogunyemi said, was to allow government more time to address the issues pertaining to the UTAS or risk a definite strike action.
Some Nigerians, however, have urged the government and striking lecturers to reach a common ground in their negotiations and ensure the universities are reopened.
Prof. Moyosore Ajao, ASUU Chairman, University of Ilorin, tasked the Federal Government to continue to dialogue with the union warning that failure to embark on mutual dialogue would result to anarchy.