The House of Representatives has resolved to intervene in the crisis between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
The House resolved to probe into the crisis following the unanimous adoption of a motion by Tajudeen Abass, who called for the intervention of the parliament in the crisis.
Following the decision, the House mandated the Committees on Finance; Education; and Labour, Employment and Productivity “to intervene in the conflict with a view to identifying the cause of the conflict, reconciling the warring parties, and report in two weeks’ time.”
While the Federal Government is insisting on capturing university lecturers on the IPPIS, ASUU has insisted on being exempted from the system.
The Federal Government had said it had received the nominal roll of about 41 universities as part of moves to capture university workers, despite ASUU’s opposition.
Moving the motion, Abass said the House was convinced that the IPPIS policy had been used as an effective and efficient tool to fight the malaise of ghost workers, which he said appeared to have defied all policies and mechanisms put in place in the public service before now to sanitize the system.
The lawmaker said, consequently, since the inception of the IPPIS policy in 2007 to date, the Federal Government had saved about N12bn by eliminating thousands of ghost workers.
Abass said, “The House is concerned that in spite of the several benefits of the IPPIS policy, the implementation of the policy has generated some controversies in some MDAs and has manifested some drawbacks which should be addressed.
“The House is worried that ASUU, in reaction to the new Federal Government directives on the implementation of IPPIS, is not only objecting to the application of the policy to the federal universities but has issued three counter directive to all its members not to comply with the directive “The House is also worried that ASUU has threatened to go on strike if the Federal Government attempts to enforce the implementation of the policy in the federal universities on the grounds that the policy lacks legal backing and its derogates from the autonomy of the universities.
“The House is alarmed that if the Federal Government refused to back down on the implementation of the IPPIS policy in the universities as demanded by ASUU, ASUU may go on another strike which may jeopardize the current peace and stability being enjoyed in our university campuses.”
Meanwhile, even after the Federal Government said any of its workers not captured in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS, will no longer receive salary and the enrolment of federal university workers entered day two yesterday, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has remained adamant, as its members shunned the exercise.
Also, the refusal of ASUU members to enroll in the exercise is contrary to claims by the Coordinator of IPPIS, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Olusegun Olufehinti, that lecturers were enrolling in the exercise in appreciable numbers.
Checks by our correspondent at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, the University of Jos, UNIJOS, the University of Ibadan, UI, the University of Ilorin, UNILORIN among others, showed that only non-academic staff showed up for the exercise at the designated centres.
At the Jelili Omotola Multi-Purpose Hall, UNILAG, the leader of the team of consultants on IPPIS from Abuja, David Mega, said about 74 workers were enrolled on Wednesday and that they attended to people till around 8 pm.
Also speaking with newsmen, the leader of the IPPIS team from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, who simply gave her name as Rachel, said about 65 workers had been enrolled as at 4 pm on Thursday. ASUU’s stance has not changed
The Chairman of the UNILAG chapter of ASUU, Dr Dele Ashiru, said the union would not cave in to undue pressure to do the wrong thing.
“We are not in competition with any union. We care about the focus of our view. IPPIS is eroding the autonomy of the universities. We are in a democratic setting and we won’t allow dictatorial tendencies here. A union of intellectuals won’t allow an obnoxious rule to hold sway. We are also engaging the Minister of Education on the issue, apart from the rescheduled meeting with the leadership of the Senate. Even the World Bank has confirmed that the IPPIS is a monumental fraud,” he said.
Ashiru accused the government of engaging in needless propaganda with the intent of breaking the ranks of the lecturers.
Also, the UNILORIN chapter of ASUU has refuted some online reports by some national dailies that its members were already enrolling, describing such as ridiculous and attempts to embarrass the leadership of the union.
A statement signed by Prof. Saliu Ajao, said “The union thanked all the members for remaining resolute to the Congress’ decision not to have anything to do with the IPPIS until further directives are given by our national body. We appeal to our members to consciously and continually be on guard as some sponsored elements from within and outside the union are trying to distract us from our noble objectives. They will not succeed because our collective will and sincerity will see us through.
“I want to assure all our members that the Exco is on top of the matter and we are already demanding a retract of the fake and biased report from the concerned reporters.
“Congress members should be aware that our branch, being strategic, is very key to those who want to break our ranks using various methods, including sensational headlines in various media.
“There is no amount of intimidation, blackmail and propaganda that would make us surrender our collective decision to salvage the university system. Therefore, the days ahead will witness more of these obnoxious headlines and other tactics aimed at breaking our ranks. Let me assure you that a monitoring team is being constituted to ensure total compliance with the resolution of our union.
We all need to remember that, together we bargain and as individuals, we beg. For our union makes us strong.” At the University of Ibadan, the IPPIS team from Abuja only arrived at the campus on Thursday afternoon and the exercise commenced late.
However, the ASUU members in the institution maintained their stance not to partake in it. Similarly, the leader of ASUU at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State, Adeola Egbedokun, reiterated that what the union would not subscribe to anything intended to bring the university system down.
He said the union’s alternative to IPPIS, the Nigerian Universities Transparency and Accountability System, NUTAS, was better and cheaper than the one the government is touting. Our correspodent in Jos reported that the ASUU members also stuck to their guns of not enrolling in the IPPIS.
RSG Restates Readiness To Empower Farmers, Fishermen
The Rivers State Government has urged all farmers and fishermen in the state to gather whatever produce they have to their respective local government chairmen at the centres designated by their chairmen for immediate purchase.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, stated this shortly after the inaugural meeting of the Committee to Purchase Food Stuffs from Farmers and Fishermen for Distribution to the Rivers State people at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
According to Danagogo, who is the chairman of the committee, the essence is to make sure that our farmers and fishermen are empowered and encouraged to continue to produce what they are producing and to stockpile enough food stuff to enable us win the war against COVID-19 and looming starvation.
Danagogo, who disclosed that his committee has started work immediately, said all the local government chairmen are expected to go back to their LGAs to start the process of engaging the farmers and fishermen to sensitize them to bring their products for purchase and onward distribution to the citizens and residents of the state.
In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said the initiative of Governor Nyesom Wike was primarily designed to ensure that nobody complains of hunger during this trying period.
He pleaded with the farmers and fishermen, who would be approached at the various local government areas that this was a time for sacrifice and selfless service and not a time for racketeering and hoarding of produce, stressing that the state government would pay for all the products produce by the farmers and fishermen.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Fred Kpakol said farmers and fishermen in the state should redouble their efforts to produce more, noting that agriculture remains a major policy thrust of the present administration in the state.
Buhari’s Subsidy Regime, Monumental Fraud -PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the fuel subsidy regime under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration as a monumental fraud and an unpardonable scam against the Nigerian state.
The party stated this, yesterday, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondoyan, and made available to newsmen in Abuja.
This is even as the party counselled officials of APC-led government to “stop lying to Nigerians and tell the truth of how trillions of naira, claimed to have been paid as a subsidy, was cornered by APC leaders and members of the cabal in the Buhari Presidency.”
The PDP also described last Monday’s declaration by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, that there will be no more subsidy and under-recovery as dramatic.
The statement read in part: “Our party notes that if the Federal Government is running away from its subsidy policy, the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources, President Buhari or his Minister of State, Timipre Sylva, should muster the courage to announce this to Nigerians through a policy statement.
“Our party holds that this sudden announcement of an end to fuel subsidy and commencement of a deregulation regime of the oil sector is a desperate step by the Buhari administration to stave off an investigation into the siphoning of trillions of naira by APC leaders using phoney subsidy claims.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note how President Buhari set the stage for unprecedented subsidy looting under his regime.
“It would be recalled that in his bid to smear the PDP, President Buhari, while leading the agitation against the decision by the PDP administration to deregulate the oil sector in 2012, declared that fuel subsidy does not exist. He had called the subsidy regime and its operators a fraud.
“Rather than riding on this declaration on the assumption of office, the Buhari Presidency provided official cover for the cabal and APC leaders to use his ascendancy to power to engage in underhand dealings, plunder our nation’s subsidy resources, pillaged trillions of naira from the oil cashbox, only to now turn around to announce an end to a subsidy, seeing that there is nothing left to steal with the current international price crash.”
While chiding President Buhari for alleged lack of openness in the handling of petroleum subsidy since he assumed power in 2015; the PDP said nothing but an alleged scam on the part of APC leaders was responsible for the first citizen’s inability to speak up on the issue.
“We ask, could this be the reason behind Mr. President’s inability to make any concrete statement on the exposed subsidy scam under his administration in the last five years?
“Could it also be the reason the oil subsidy, which Nigerians where enjoying under the PDP, was adjudged a fraud but suddenly ceased to be a fraud from 2015 till Monday, even when Nigerians no longer enjoyed any benefit from the payout within this period?
“Nigerians now know the reason the APC administration had refused to allow for an independent inquest into the alleged N1.4trillion oil subsidy sleaze through which certain APC leaders were benefiting from alleged N58 hidden toll per litre which Nigerians were forced to bear for years after fuel price was increased by the APC administration from PDP’s subsidized cost of N87 to N145 per litre.
“It is now clear to all why the APC administration had resorted to muddling up oil revenue transactions, refused to open up on federation equity of crude while frustrating free flow of information on product exchange and revenue remittances, and why they have been promoting reports on imaginary pipeline losses as well as other opaque and non-transparent transaction in a sector that is directly under the supervision of Mr. President.
“This is in addition to the over N14trillion stolen through various shady oil subsidy contracts, including the stolen N9trillion detailed by the leaked NNPC memo and the N1.1trillion worth of crude stolen with 18 unregistered vessels linked to APC interests, all of which the Buhari Presidency had refused to investigate despite demands by Nigerians.
“The PDP, therefore, insists that the decision of the APC-led administration to embrace subsidy now that oil price had crashed cannot foreclose the irretrievable demand for a forensic audit of all the fraudulent under-recoveries, through which funds meant for subsidy was diverted to private pockets of APC leaders.
“The PDP is also demanding a forensic audit of over-bloated 60 million litres of petrol that NNPC claimed it was importing under its former GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru, to justify the fraudulent subsidy payout.
“The PDP urges the National Assembly to stand on the side of Nigerians, expose all those involved, who got what in this huge scam against our nation as well as take steps to recover the over N14trillion stolen by the cabal and certain APC leaders and channel same for the welfare of Nigerians especially at this critical time.”
COVID-19: RSG Distributes Foodstuffs To Vulnerable People
In order to cushion the effect of the stay-at-home directive to Rivers people to check the spread of coronavirus, the Rivers State Government, yesterday, commenced the distribution of foodstuffs to the downtrodden.
The Rivers State COVID-19 Palliative Committee set up by the governor, yesterday, distributed foodstuffs to the Home of the Elderly, Port Harcourt Children Home, Port Harcourt Remand Home and Cheshire Home.
Chairman of the Committee, Amb Desmond Akawor while speaking at some of the homes visited said that the distribution has nothing to do with politics.
He stated that all sections of the state would be reached.
He said “As you can see the members of the committee, we have the clergy men, security agencies and civil servants. These are people who will not want to associate themselves with the politics of the day.
“It is not in anyway to be political. Hunger does not know political parties. So, these materials are going to our people and whatever we do with God on our side we will ensure it gets to the targeted population.”
Inmates and managers of the homes that received the COVID-19 Palliatives of the Rivers State Government thanked Wike for remembering them at this point..
Matron, Port Harcourt Children Home, Mrs Gift Eke, thanked the government for remembering the children in the home at this trying time, and prayed for more wisdom for the governor.
The Matron, Cheshire Home, Mrs Stella Gbobo, appreciated the governor, and prayed that God should bless Rivers State Government and most, especially the governor who is in charge of the mandate for remembering the physical challenged.
Also speaking, the Matron, Home of the Elderly, Rev Sister MaryJane Raphael, appreciated the governor and his team, prayed God to give them gracious old age.
Mr. Omubo Gillis Harry, Warden, Port Harcourt Remand Home lauded the Rivers State Government for taking care of the less privileged.
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