The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has given reasons why it rejected the plan by the Federal Government to enrol university workers into IPPIS, saying it violated university autonomy.
The ASUU Coordinator in Lagos zone, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, who stated this at a press conference held at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) on Thursday, said that the policy was not acceptable to the union.
Sowande noted that it was important for the Federal Government to consider the peculiarities of the universities and their enabling laws before such decisions could be made.
He added that universities operated differently from the civil service and should, therefore, not be seen as appendages of ministries, departments and agencies of government.
“In addition to the Act establishing each university, there is the Universities Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Act, 2003.
“The Act states in Section 2(A) that the power of the council shall be exercised as in the laws and statutes of each university and to that extent, the establishment circulars that are inconsistent with the laws and statutes of the university shall not apply to the university.
“IPPIS will not recognise nor adequately capture the flexibility and peculiarities of the university system in terms of replacement/recruitment of staff,” he said.
Sowande explained that ASUU believed that President Muhammadu Buhari would not violate his oath of office, but would rather abide by the constitution and the law of the land.
He added that the union was not opposed to accountability and transparency in handling public funds.
The ASUU chairman further explained that the Office of the Accountant- General of the Federation had no business in superintending over or introducing any financial control or cost saving measure in the university.
Sowande argued that such power and responsibilities were vested in the governing council of each university.
Also speaking, Dr Dele Ashiru, ASUU Chairman, University of Lagos, said that the introduction of IPPIS in the university was a total a violation of the constitution.
“One other issue we need to underscore is this attempt by government to treat universities as government ministries and agencies.
” Universities are non-government agencies and that is a bit about academic freedom. Universities all over the world ought to respond to the viccissitude of time in their respective environments.
“If universities are brought under the dictates of one Accountant general,whose qualifications can also be questioned, it then brings to question the whole talk about the freedom of universities to carry out its business without let or hindrance.
” At the soul of this struggle is the rapid determination by a draconian government to bring everything under it’s claws. For so long we have been challenging the question of over centralization in Nigeria. This is also another manifestation of government trying to overreach itself by bringing all government ministries, agencies, departments and now including autonomous universities under the direct control of one single individual who calls himself the Accountant general of the federation.
“Accounting for nothing. Over the years, billions of hard earned resources in Nigeria have been fleeced by individual corporate organizations under the direct supervision of the unaccounting accountant general of the federation.
“A presidential directive or a government policy can not supersede an extant law of the federation. To allow that to happen, is to encourage crippling fascism, and dictatorship in the system.
“That is why ASUU is frontally, totally and absolutely against a draconian directive that seeks to erode a law properly passed by the national assembly.
“And that is also a challenge for constitutionalism in Nigeria. The national assembly must rise in defence of the law they freely passed since 2003 to allow an individual who superintends over corruption in Nigeria and is finding scape goats in those dare to challenge the draconian policy. It’s a challenge to the national assembly and our union is waiting to see how they rise to this occasion,” he said.