ASUU Condemn NITDA Actions Amidst Strike

From: IFEANYI Okonkwo

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has frown over the actions of Nigerian Technology Development Agency (NITDA) stating that it is clearly unpatriotic, totally unacceptable and a great dis -service to the nation.

Zonal coordinator, ASUU Owerri zone, Comred Uzo Onyebinama in his address at a press conference held at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka on Wednesday 13th April, 2022 stated that the
Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) had contributed to and compounded corruption in public universities.

In his words “UTAS is home grown and is compliant with global best practice in the industry. It received a score of 99.3% after remediation and conclusion of tests by the Nigerian Technology Development Agency (NITDA). IPPIS has been variously described as an instrument of corruption.

“Recently NITDA, a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy announced to the nation that UTAS had failed integrity tests. That announcement was made while the tests were on going. It was a sore thumb and it stuck out.

” If NITDA is picking up a fight against ASUU, for declaring that the promotion and appointment of the Minister of communications and Digital Economy to the rank of Professor by the Federal University of Technology Owerri was unmerited and without due process, it should come clear.

“That announcement by NITDA was to blackmail the union and put UTAS in bad light. By that act, NITDA has sabotaged the efforts of its principal, the Federal Government to resolve the issues surrounding the lingering ASUU strike. The deployment of UTAS as the payment platform for academic staff in public universities is a central issue in the resolution of the strike.

” NITDA should know that ASUU cannot be intimidated. A software that scored 99.3% after integrity tests cannot be said to have failed such integrity tests and If we may ask, why was IPPIS not subjected to integrity tests in the first instance.

“The action of NITDA is clearly unpatriotic, totally unacceptable and a great dis -service to our father land. Agents of the Federal Government who engage and indulge in such acts for whatever personal benefits and gains are a clear and present danger to our country Nigeria. A stitch in time , as always will save nine. We therefore call on well-meaning Nigerians to come to the rescue. The struggle will continue.

Speaking on the lingering strike Onyebinama said
“Among the outstanding issues yet to be addressed in the 2020 MOA is the acceptance and signing of the renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement which embodiesthe conditions of service for academic staff in public universities.

“It may interest you to know that academic staff in public universities in Nigeria have been on the same salary structure since 2009 – a decade and three years. A Professor in a public university in Nigeria at the bar of his salary scale takes home N416, 000 per month. This is in spite of hyper inflation and hyper devaluation of the Naira. At an average conservative exchange rate of 500 naira to the dollar, the take home pay of a Professor in a Nigerian university amounts to 832 dollars.

“Other major outstanding issue is the reluctance of the Federal Government of Nigeria to deploy the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a payment platform for the salaries and other entitlements of academic staff in public Universities.

Other notable comrades at the press conference are:
Okey Aniebo, Chairperson, ASUU COOU.
Chinedu Ihejirika, Chairperson, ASUU FUTO.
Odinakachukwu Ejiogu, Chairperson, ASUU IMSU.
Chike Ugwuene, Chairperson, ASUU MOUAU.
Steve Ufoaroh, Chairperson, ASUU NAU

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