Written by Godfrey AKON

COEASU kicks as FG commences IPPIS verification in COEs

The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, has kicked against the ongoing biometric verification to enrol staffers of public colleges of education into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System IPPIS.

The union, in a communique delivered at the end of its Expanded National Executive Council, ENEC, meeting in Abuja on May 1, 2019, described the move by the Federal Government to forcefully enrol COE staffers into the IPPIS as a “flagrant insensitivity to the peculiarities of the COE system.”

Jointly signed by its National President, Comrade Nuhu Ogrima, and the General Secretary, Comrade Taiwo A. Olayanju, the communique stated that the IPPIS was being carried out in spite of COEASU’s incontrovertible arguments for exclusion from the platform at previous attempts by the government to capture the COEs.

“While the Union is not averse to measures geared towards stemming corruption and drainage of the scarce resources available to the government, it finds the IPPIS incompatible with the COE system: apart from the bottlenecks and risks of payroll over-centralization, IPPIS does not accommodate legitimate fringe benefits, non-regular allowances and the peculiarities of Sabbatical Leave and 65-year retirement age irrespective of length of service.

“ENEC noted that tertiary institutions all over the world are normally exempted from such general payroll management systems for the public service due to these unique factors and, therefore, Nigeria cannot be an exemption,” the union said.

COEASU urged its leadership at chapter level to be vigilant against any disguised strategy that may be deployed to directly or indirectly compel the enrolment of members on the IPPIS platform.

The union warned that in the unexpected event that her concerns about IPPIS are not resolved and the FG imposes the platform on the system, COEASU shall not hesitate to take any appropriate industrial action to salvage the COE system.

It also expressed dismay that the N15 billion promised by the federal government as a palliative to address infrastructural decay across federal and state COEs as part of the implementation of the 2014 Presidential Needs Assessment Reviewed Report as demanded by COEASU, was still being expected.

“ENEC, therefore, considered as unacceptable the inconsistency of FG and warned against looming industrial crisis unless the pledge is fulfilled without further delay,” it said.

The Union however commended President Muhammdu Buhari for signing the new minimum wage bill into law and the National Assembly for the eventual passage of the NCCE and FCE Establishment Amendment Bills, adding that the bills would alleviate most of the challenges plaguing the COE system when assented by the President.

On the Peculiar Earned Academic Allowances, PEAA, the union said “ENEC expressed strong objection to the seeming silence of FG on the outstanding PEAA across the COE system, especially for the year 2018 in all FCEs and since 2015 in most of the Federal Colleges.

“Council expects that appropriate budgetary provisions have been made for these legitimate allowances to clear the unpaid arrears as well as ensure unhindered payment henceforth. While ENEC was hesitant in drawing conclusions on the issue of sensitivity of FG to the plight of COEs in this respect, ENEC cautioned that it would not hesitate to invoke measures of redress to extract the various government’s commitment to their responsibilities.”

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