Strike: Prioritise Members Welfare, Not UTAS, FG Blasts ASUU

Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba
Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba

The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, has asked the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to focus on the welfare of their members instead of insisting on the payment platform that the government should use.

VANTAGE NEWS reports that ASUU embarked on strike in protest against unfulfilled promises and the government’s move to use the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System as a payment platform for universities.

Recall that ASUU insisted on the UTAS, saying the union will not call of the strike until the government accepts the payment platform.

Speaking in an interview with The Punch, Nwajiuba said, “They are complaining about the IPPIS not paying their money but they are getting their IPPIS payroll. So why are you going on strike? Why they are on strike because of this is something I don’t understand.

“It is understandable when you talk about the welfare of your members, but saying why should the government buy Peugeot instead of Renault is what I don’t understand.

“IPPIS is paying people. If there is any disparity, they should request for their balance. If there is any deduction, their complaint will be to be paid. Going on strike because of UTAS is something I don’t understand. Does that mean we can go on strike for not using Innoson cars?

“Government felt they could not shut down lives concerning this thing you are developing. It doesn’t mean that the government must use yours because it’s home-grown, it is an option of the government.

“If it is a good technology, it cannot be only good in Nigeria; it can also be useful in Uganda, or any other place, where people can also sell the technology just the same way we purchased this one from somewhere else. I mean you don’t even need to insist that it is only a particular government that gets it.

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“Some other people may buy your technology. Now, if it is good enough for the government, the IPPIS service has an expiry date, so when that one comes to an end, we can opt for a better one. It may not be UTAS the government may consider as it might go for another one. As soon as we find the one that is better than others, we move on with the better one.

“However, if NITDA and ASUU have not reached a point where they can say the technology is wholesome to use and the government starts negotiation, that is work-in-progress.

“If someone is paying you with your BVN, it has nothing to do with the government, and your complaints can be sent to the bank or technology platform if there are problems. But to insist that the government should use it and make it the thrust of your strike sounds somehow.”

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