President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to rescind its decision on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and the 14-day warning strike.
Buhari made the call in a message to the 14th convocation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU) in Awka on Thursday.
The president, whose address was read by Prof. Rasheed Abubakar, the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), said that the IPPIS was in their own best interest.
According to him, the IPPIS was not intended to trample upon university autonomy nor was it designed to subsume universities into the civil service.
He urged them to suspend the warning strike in the interest of students and generality of Nigerians.
Buhari congratulated graduates of the university and urged them to use their skills to contribute their quota to national development.
He also congratulated two Anambra business moguls, Chief Innocent Chukwuma of Innoson Group of Companies and Dr Daniel Chukwudozie, Chairman Dozzy Group of Companies, who were conferred with honorary doctorate degrees by the university.
The president praised the award recipients for their contributions toward the growth of the nation.
The third awardee at the convocation was the deposed Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who was absent at the event.
Prof. Charles Esimone, the Vice-Chancellor of the university (UNIZIK), in an address, said that the 14th convocation witnessed conferment of 7,650 first degrees, 1,954 post graduate diplomas, 610 Masters Degree, and 339 doctorate degrees.
Chukwuma and Chuwkudozie, in their separate remarks, promised to partner the management of the university in the upgrade of the engineering faculty of the school.
Chukwudozie on his part said he would meet with the management of the institution to know areas of needing assistance.
Gbong Qwom Jos, Dr Jacob Gyang Buba, and Chancellor of the university, attended the ceremony among other scores of notable Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU) says its agitations and actions over the years were premised on six cardinal demands.
Prof. Theophilus Lagi, Abuja Zonal Coordinator of the union, at a press conference in Gwagwalada on Thursday, listed the demands to include more funding for public universities and renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement.
Others included the payment of outstanding earned aademic allowances, the proliferation of universities by state governments and the constitution of Visitation Panels to Federal Universities.
According to him, the university teachers are also against “the planned forceful imposition of IPPIS on universities”, and the failure of the federal government to pay February 2020 salaries.
“These issues have been agreed upon by the federal government and ASUU via several memoranda which aggregated the cardinal arguments of the previous 2013 (MoU), 2017 (MoA), and the February 7, 2019 MoA.
“Unfortunately, these noble initiatives proposed by our union and accepted by the federal government for the upliftment of Nigeria education have remained contentious because they have not been addressed
“ASUU also wants the federal government to declare a five-year State of Emergency in the education sector during which at least 20 per cent of the budget and same percentage of states’ budgets should be allocated to education,” Lagi said.
He said that the current action was also a call on the federal government to welcome ASUU’s innovative alternative to IPPIS – the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) – which would address the peculiarities of universities.
He called on parents, students and well meaning Nigerians to understand that ASUU’s warning strike was to salvage the already decayed university system and the future of Nigerian children.
“The derailment by government from the principles of those interventions has led to the current deficiency and decay we see on our campuses.
“This is compounded by the unnecessary meddlesomeness in the internal administrative procedures and processes of our universities by the government and its agents.
“We want the nation to understand that our opposition to the implementation of IPPIS in our universities is a patriotic action because the scheme is a bastion of fraud that permits the enrolment of ghost workers.
“We, in the Abuja Zone, have resolved to prosecute this strike to its logical conclusion and what we are doing is to salvage the already decayed university system and the future of our children,” he claimed.
University lecturers embarked on a two weeks warning strike on March 9.