The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Port Harcourt Zone, has described the proposed introduction of the Integrated Payroll Payment Information System to universities as a ploy by the Federal Government to underfund public varsities and deny Nigerians access to education.
ASUU stated that IPPIS, which it also described as a recipe for monumental fraud, did not capture the peculiarities of the structure in the university system like the remuneration of staff on sabbatical, external examiners and earned academic allowances.
The zone comprises of University of Port Harcourt, Niger Delta University, Federal University, Otuoke, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education and Rivers State University.
Speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt on Monday, the Zonal Coordinator of the union, Port Harcourt Zone, Uzo Onyebinama, stated that the IPPIS would upset the fragile balance in the utilisation of academics across the Nigerian university system.
Onyebinama also disagreed with the claim by the Federal Government that the integrated payroll system would eliminate corruption, adding that it was on record that government lost N143 billion on IPPIS platform.
He said, “Let no one be left in doubt that, IPPIS in the universities is part of the programme of government to undermine and underfund public universities to deny poor Nigerians access to education.
“It is on record that government has consistently sold this bait to Nigerians that private universities, largely owned by public officers and their cronies should be the way out of the comatose state of the Nigerian university system.
“The wild goose chase called IPPIS embarked on by these World Bank agents is calculated to impoverish Nigerians while benefitting their paymasters. The most potent argument in support of IPPIS by these World Bank agents is its fictitious claims of fighting corruption.
“For the avoidance of doubt, ASUU has been at the forefront of the crusade against corruption in Nigeria. Successive governments have shielded its agents who plunder the universities and other public institutions from the law. The Governing Council of all federal universities are appointees of government who the government can hold accountable for the resources which they superintend.”
Reading from a statement signed by him, Chairperson, ASUU, UNIPORT, Austen Sado, Chairperson, ASUU, Niger Delta University and three others, Onyebinama lamented that the Federal Government had made it impossible for universities to function optimally due to poor funding.