Expose the ghost workers you uncovered – ASUU tells govt

Adamu Adamu, Nigeria's Minister of Education

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has challenged the Federal Government to give details about the ghost workers it uncovered in federal universities since the introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS).

The university teachers’ union has been on an indefinite strike for the past five weeks to protest the non-implementation of the 2009 signed agreement and Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) by the Federal Government.

Its members are opposed to the IPPIS implementation and had asked members not to register on the new payment platform.

As a result, government had stopped the salaries of the ASUU members across 43 federal universities since February.

The demand by ASUU for government to explain how many ghost workers have been detected with the implementation of IPPIS after three out of four staff unions registered, is contained in a bulletin issued by ASUU Universitity of Ibadan branch Publicity Committee dated 2020.

In the bulletin, ASUU said government told Nigerians that the IPPIS platform would address the loss of billions of naira to ghost workers.

“It claimed to have saved billions for the civil service and therefore extended the system to federal universities. It makes sense to want to address the issue of ghost workers and corruption in universities.

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“The IPPIS exercise has been implemented for non-academic staff. They are at least four times more than the academic staff. Given this situation, it would be interesting to find out how many ghost workers were found during the exercise.

“This will reveal the truth or otherwise of the claims of the existence of ghost workers in the Nigerian university system or are we to believe that the so-called ghost workers that government alleged are in our universities are solely in the ranks of academics who only constitute barely twenty five per cent of the university staff? It appears government is being economical with the truth in this matter.”

The union observed that since inception of Buhari’s administration, no visitation panel had been sent to federal universities as required by law, to examine and access their operation including ascertaining that funds are applied judiciously.

“ASUU has spent the last five years begging the visitor to send visitation teams to universities. Paradoxically and most ridiculously, it is this ASUU that is calling for the probe of vice-chancellors that is now being accused of colluding with the same VCs. It is logical to ask why the government is reluctant to send visitation to the universities. Could the government be afraid of something?”

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The union recalled that in 2017, government sent verification teams to federal universities to verify payroll claims, stating that ASUU members abandoned their works to queue in the sun before clerks from the Office of the Accountant- General of the Federation to be counted.

“It was a humiliating exercise which ASUU acceded to, believing it was in the national interest. Three years after, the report of that exercise has not been made public, even though huge sums of public funds were used to finance the exercise.”

The union asked why it is difficult for government to make public and prosecute those found responsible for the loss of billions of naira to ghost workers in the civil service.

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