Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, has stated that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation is troubling members of the union because it has discredited the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System.
Ogunyemi urged the OAGF not to trigger another crisis in Nigerian universities in an interview.
In a recent article, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, Minister of State for Education, said that anybody contemplating a strike after around a year of downing tools would be doing a disservice to students.
Ogunyemi, on the other hand, insisted that the Federal Government did not expect ASUU to remain quiet when their dues were being withheld for frivolous reasons.
He said the union would consult with the federal government on Thursday.
“A substantial number of our membership are unduly denied their earned salaries and subjected to indescribable level of hardship. So, we call on all well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Accountant-General of the Federation not to precipitate another round of crisis in our universities.
“The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation has defaulted in releasing the withheld check-off deductions. It has also failed to pay the withheld salaries of some of our members in many universities.
“Our Memorandum of Action stipulates that government will continue to pay the salaries of our members pending the validation of UTAS by NITAD. But the IPPIS agents have intensified efforts to manipulate, cajole and coerce our members to enroll in IPPIS by denying them their salaries for periods ranging from four to 12 months.
“This reinforces our suspicion that the OAGF is surreptitiously working to scuttle the adoption of UTAS, to which government has been committed. We have complained to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who facilitated the whole process that culminated in December 2020 ASUU-FGN MoA,” he added.
While responding to the allegation, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, through its spokesperson, Henshaw Ogubike, said it was not aware of claims by ASUU that the OAGF was not remitting deducted funds and was violating the no-work-no-pay agreement, as well as not paying over 100 new staff.
Ogubike said, “We have been attacked by different branches of the union and there seem not to be a unified front. Maybe other ministries such as labour or education could know about it.”