The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has observed that resolving its ongoing strike action could be done by the adoption of the transparent payment platform, University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS).
Dr Socrates Ebo, Chairperson of ASUU, Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State chapter, in a statement, lamented that the deep-rooted penchant for corruption within government ethos is all out to frustrate its deployment, saying that UTAS has been proven to be a flawless payment platform.
According to him, the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), has been decisively proven to be a porous, easily compromised payment platform.
The chairperson opined that the IPPIS has been ineffective in curtailing waste of resources, stressing that on the contrary it has been used to pad payrolls and used to effect all manner of fraudulent deductions from workers’ salaries.
He explained, “We definitely can’t continue this way, the adoption of a transparent payment platform is critical to resolving the current impasse in the nation’s university system. UTAS has been proven to be a flawless payment platform but the deep-rooted penchant for corruption in our government ethos is all out to frustrate its deployment.”
He stated that no lecturer under IPPIS can say for certain what his salary is, pointing out that what they find queer is the insistence of some government officials on the use of IPPIS when it is proven to be compromised and corruption-prone.
The statement noted that UTAS has been designed to be corruption-proof, asking why the government would not be interested in a payment platform that is cheap, 100% corruption-proof, and 100% indigenous.
It stated that if IPPIS was corruption-proof, the accountant-general of the federation would not have been able to loot N80 billion and N70 billion.
It said the statement claimed of savings by IPPIS are fraudulent, saying that IPPIS arbitrarily cuts workers’ legitimate salaries to cover its heavily corrupt and inefficient tracks to create the false impression of efficiency and savings.
The statement explained that the recently paid minimum wage arrears are a case study as many persons have not been paid till date, stressing that in his branch alone, 40 persons have not been paid while the Minister of Labour thinks that they were paid three years arrears.
He added that what they received was a mere nine months without any clear template on how the payments were made, stressing that nobody knows what they are entitled to, nobody can ask questions to anybody and even the university bursars can’t explain how the payments were made and what was paid.
He suggested that the government should get serious with education in the country, saying that in the 60s and 70s, the universities ranked high among their peers with scholars all over the world coming to their universities to teach and study.
He lamented that today, the universities are so dead that even their politicians no longer believe in them as they now send their wards abroad for the same education, saying that they are the people killing education in the country as ASUU is the only bastion of defence for quality education in this country.
READ ALSO: Strike: FG Meets ASUU Today, SSANU Friday
The chairperson noted that when education is destroyed, healthcare is also destroyed, and doctors are taught new procedures and skills at the universities, not at Aso Rock Clinic or National Assembly, pointing out that eventually, everyone gets sick and everyone eventually suffers consequences of the dearth of educational infrastructure.
ASUU: APC Has No Business Being In Govt – Middle Belt Group
The Middle Belt Movement for Justice and Peace, MBMJP, has urged Nigerians to turn their backs on any political party that does not value the education of the youths saying such a party should have no business in government.
The group stressed that a government that does not give priority attention to the education of the upcoming generation “is on a mission to stagnate the future of the future leaders of the country hence does not deserve to enjoy any iota of support from the people.”
The MBMJP in a statement on Wednesday in Makurdi by its Convener, Joe Bukka, was reacting to reports that Tuesday’s meeting between the striking members of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the Federal Government was deadlocked.
The group pointed out that Nigerian youths had waited anxiously for the outcome of the meeting with optimism that the government would yield to their plea by shifting grounds to enable ASUU call off the strike “but all that hope was dashed by the All Progressives Congress, APC, led government that has continued to fail Nigerians since they came to power in 2015, after making Nigerians believe that they had something to offer, but we all now know better.
“It is utterly unimaginable that we have this set of leaders at the helm of affairs in this country at this time of human evolution when ICT has taken over the world and they fail to realise that keeping our children out of school for a day has its multiplier effects even on the socio-ecomonic development of our country.
“The children you kept at home out of ignorance are the doctors, engineers, technologists, nurses, the Journalists, Agrologist name them, that are expected to step in with the modern knowledge they have acquired to rescue our country that has been grounded by these same set of leaders who obviously lack the acumen to address our challenges.
“It is their failure that has brought us to the level of becoming the poverty capital of the world despite our endowment as a nation. Today they are making concerted effort to kill the Nigerian public universities though they claim they are educated but know nothing about the value of education. That is our predicament in Nigeria.
“That is why we must urge all Nigerians to shun any political party that does not value the education of its youths; such a party has no business in government, the leader are only on a mission to drag us back to stone age.
“A party that does not count it a priority to quickly end the ASUU strike even when it is becoming obvious that there is so much anger in the land over the manner the issue is being treated by government officials who with public funds are sending their children overseas to study, surely can no more be trusted with the mandate of the people.”
JUST IN: ASUU Meeting With FG End In Deadlock, Strike To Continue
The meeting between the federal government and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Tuesday ended without an agreement.
As a result of this, the six-month old strike embarked on by public university lecturers is set to continue.
The lecturers met with the Professor Nimi Briggs Committee at the National University Commission (NUC) in Abuja with high hopes of resolving the impasse.
A senior member of ASUU told Channels Television that members of the Briggs renegotiation committee didn’t come with any new offer on the table.
According to him, the committee pleaded with the lecturers to suspend the ongoing strike, with promises that their concerns will be included in the 2023 budget.
The meeting started at about 12pm and lasted for about three hours.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14.
UI, OAU, FUNAAB Listed Among Global Top Ranking Varsities
The Chairman of Governing Board of Higher Education Observatory for Africa, Emeritus Professor Peter Okebukola, has applauded the efforts of the National Universities Commission in implementing its 2021-2027 strategic plan.
According to a statement by a Ghanaian member of the Board of HEOFA, Dr. Fred Mensah, “the dividend of the NUC-led effort is the top-ranking of Nigerian universities in the Academic Ranking of World Universities which was released August 15, 2022.
The PUNCH reports that ARWU is one of the most-respected ranking schemes in the world. It uses six objective indicators to rank world universities, including the number of alumni and staff members winning nobel prizes and field medals, number of highly cited researchers selected by Clarivate, number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science, number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index Expanded, and Social Sciences Citation Index in the Web of Science, and per capita performance of a university.
Mensah notes that more than 2500 universities are ranked by ARWU every year and the best 1000 are published.
This year, Harvard University tops the ranking list for the 20th year. Stanford University remains at the number two seat. Massachusetts Institute of Technology rises one position to the number 3.
Other Top 10 universities are Cambridge (4th), Berkeley (5th), Princeton (6th), Oxford (7th), Columbia (8th), Caltech (9th), and Chicago (10th).”
HEOFA noted that “for the first time in the history of ARWU which started in 2003, University of Ibadan appeared in the 800-901 band.
“In the 2022 GRAS ranking which was also released on Monday, Nigeria featured as follows: in Veterinary Sciences, the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, emerged in the 201 to 300 group; in Dentistry and Oral Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University was also in the 201 to 300 group; while in Psychology, University of Nigeria emerged in the 401 to 500 group”
“The chairman of the governing board of HEOFA, Okebukola, congratulated the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, the Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, as well as the authorities of the University of Ibadan, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, and Obafemi Awolowo University for this feat.
“With the 2021-2027 strategic plan on ranking and the 2019-2023 blueprint on the Rapid Revitalisation of University Education in Nigeria being implemented by the NUC, the world of ranking will quake with the huge appearance of Nigerian universities in the top 200 in the world before 2030.
“I urge all stakeholders to be part of the provision of the enabling environment of better resourcing of our universities, better welfare scheme for staff to bolster motivation and enhance commitment to quality teaching and research and all in the context of a stable academic calendar in order to achieve our 2030 goal of top ranking in global league tables,” Okebukola concluded.
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