The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, says the Academic Staff Union of Universities would soon suspend its strike.
Ngige gave the hint during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today aired Tuesday evening and monitored by our correspondent.
He explained that the Ministries of Finance, Education, Labour and Employment and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation will meet with ASUU to resolve the disagreement on the controversial Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
It was gathered that members of ASUU had embarked on an indefinite strike on March 23 over alleged shortcomings of IPPIS and failure of the Federal Government to honour its 2019 agreement.
But Ngige said the FG was ready for an integrity test of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution developed as an alternative to IPPIS by the varsity lecturers.
He noted that FG would consider the UTAS if it addresses the shortcomings identified in IPPIS.
He said, “The issue of ASUU will soon come to an end. Two reasons – ASUU have called the Federal Government, represented by Finance and the Accountant-General Office and their direct employers, the Ministry of Education to come for the test.
“We are ready to do that. After the independence day celebration, the four ministries and agencies involved will gather together with ASUU. We will look at the UTAS. If there are shortcomings with IPPIS as complained which UTAS have corrected. What’s wrong about it? It is software, we will look at it.
“Secondly, ASUU members have been collecting their money since COVID-19 came and I wrote a memo to Mr president that ASUU members are still Nigerians. Even the members have families that they care for. By upper week, we are going to arrange for this demonstration.”
ASUU had rejected IPPIS, insisting that it violates university autonomy and proposed the UTAS as an alternative.
President of the union, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, earlier explained that there was nowhere in the world where IPPIS is being implemented that universities are put under the civil service.
He said if Nigeria wanted to have 21st-century universities, with global ranking, it cannot be achieved through IPPIS.
“This is because IPPIS will shut the door against scholars who are to come from outside Nigeria, scholars who are not on the pensionable appointment within the system.
“IPPIS will bring universities under direct civil service control and the system does not work that way.
“That kind of system will kill innovation, will kill creativity and it will kill academic freedom and autonomy.”