ASUU Rejects Submission Of BVN As Condition For Payment Of Withheld Salaries

ASUU, ongoing strike, COVID-19, Coronavirus
The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, has rejected the condition set by the Federal Government for the payment of February and March salaries to ASUU members being withheld over failure to enrol on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System.
He, therefore, directed all affected lecturers not to submit their Bank Verification Number (BVN), to Vice-Chancellors before they are paid their February and March salaries.
Speaking with Tribune Online on the telephone, on Wednesday, in Abuja, Ogunyemi, who noted that the Union would get to the government for further clarification insisted that submission of BVN to Vice-Chancellors was a clandestine move to force ASUU members on IPPIS.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had on Tuesday, at a briefing in Abuja said President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to immediately pay the lecturers the withheld salaries.
Ogunyemi said: “We are going back to the government to clarify it. The initial information we got was that the President directed the Ministry of Finance to pay salaries of our members that are withheld.
“Our salaries were not withheld in the first place because we worked for those ones. And since March, nobody has been doing any serious work in this country.
“Our suspicion is that ministry officials in the Finance Ministry, particularly, the Office of the Accountant General, are planning to capture our members’ BVN at all cost just to migrate them to IPPIS. We will get back to the government for the directive to be made clear.
ASUU commenced an indefinite nationwide strike on March 23, 2020, following the stoppage of its members’ salaries over refusal to enrol on IPPIS.
Ngige, however, announced that President Buhari, on compassionate grounds in view of the current lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the attendant hardship it has brought to families, approved the payment of the February and March withheld salaries to ASUU members.
The leadership of ASUU is, however, saying the request to produce BVN as a condition for accessing the salaries was a decoy to enrol the lecturers on IPPIS, which has been the major bone of contention between the Union and Government.
ASUU has agued that IPPIS could not cater to the peculiarities of university administration and opted to develop an alternative, it called University Transparency and Accountability System (UTAS).
ASUU had while declaring the indefinite strike said not even the Coronavirus pandemic ravaging countries of the including Nigeria, could stop the Union members from embarking on the indefinite strike since the “Nigerian government has elected to use hunger as a weapon of war against its academics and we are not going to sit and watch”.
Ogunyemi said: “Based on the review of reports from ASUU leadership’s engagements with Government, NEC concluded that Government had failed to satisfactorily address the outstanding issues raised in the FGN-ASUU 2019 Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) and ignored the objections of ASUU against IPPIS.
“Consequently, NEC resolved to embark on a total, comprehensive and indefinite strike action beginning Monday, March 23rd, 2020 until the issues are satisfactorily resolved.”



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