The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has emphasized the need for the enrolment of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as it is meant to check the flagrant corruption in Nigerian universities.
It will be recalled that ASUU has been embroiled in a running battle with the Federal Government over the decision to include ASUU members in the IPPIS system as a way of ensuring accountability in the ivory tower.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO noted that over the years the university system has been bedeviled with an over-bloated wage bill, padded budgets and other anomalies prevalent in the system.
“However, with President Muhammadu Buhari coming to office and his relentless fight against corruption, there arose the need to reexamine the rotten system. Regrettably, ASUU which ought to be a change agent and join in the crusade against corruption has been up in arms against the determination of the administration to correct some ills.
“It is on record that some universities have been indicted for their involvement in financial malfeasance in the past. For instance, the University of Benin Teaching Hospital had been indicted by the ICPC for allegedly padding its budget to the tune of N1.1Billion; University College Hospital Ibadan (N701 million); University of Ibadan (N558 million); Usman Dan Fodio University (N636 million); University of Jos (N896 million) and Nnamdi Azikiwe University (N915 million).
“We find these anomalies irreconcilable with the philosophy of imparting knowledge and morals in students in our universities, and the objective of the IPPIS is to close the yawning gaps and make the university system accountable, and operate under a more transparent system.
“We also note that ASUU cannot approbate and reprobate at once, the Federal Government being responsible for its members’ wages has a duty to regulate, monitor and ensure that funds are not misapplied by the universities”.
According to BMO, university autonomy and accountability are not mutually exclusive, “rather, they must complement each other under the present circumstances. We, therefore, appeal to ASUU to reconsider its stand on the issue, especially as a higher percentage of its members are already complying with the directive”.