The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Thursday said the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation used the controversial Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform to pay the salaries of university lecturers, without capturing their biometrics and other information.
ASUU argued that such step by the Federal Government confirmed its suspicion that the IPPIS was fraudulent and unfit for the university system, while urging the authorities to consider its alternative – the University Transparency and Accountability Solution.
The ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, stated this in an interview in Abuja, adding that if lecturers who did not register on IPPIS were paid through the system, it meant that anyone could be imported onto the platform.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on April 21 ordered the payment of the February and March 2020 withheld salaries of lecturers in federal universities.
The salaries had been withheld because the lecturers had failed to register on the IPPIS – an ongoing matter of contention between ASUU and the government.
But a statement by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, had said the payment was immediate and without condition.
The ASUU President, Ogunyemi, said on Thursday that the union had clear evidence that the controversial IPPIS platform was used in paying the lecturers’ salaries without any biometrics or data capture.
He said, “The first comment is that we wondered how they could have used the IPPIS platform when our members didn’t submit BVN or sign into IPPIS? The impression we were given before is that before the government could use IPPIS, people must submit themselves for data capture, biometrics capture and so forth. But that did not happen in this instance.
“So if the government could go ahead and use the IPPIS to pay salaries, it means our suspicion is being confirmed which means they can manipulate that platform as they want.
“This is because if people who did not register on IPPIS are being paid through IPPIS, it means that anybody can be imported into that system and that has been our suspicion all along. We have said that the IPPIS is not as waterproof as claimed.
“Secondly, by using IPPIS to pay our members (because in the alert, it was clearly stated there; the IPPIS was mentioned in the alert) we have also seen the inadequacies of that platform.
“When the government called us for a meeting in July 2019, it said all the fears had been addressed. How come, this time round, by using the IPPIS, you distorted people’s salaries?
“Our members are saying the government amputated their salaries. They removed from some people’s salaries. The pay slips are nowhere and the cooperative deductions, union dues and all the third party deductions are nowhere to be found.
“You now start to wonder whether this is the system we need. As we have been saying, the alternative we have been working on is in progress and we will soon unveil it to Nigerians.”