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Buhari displays treachery against ASUU

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Sir: The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige is quoted as informing that “President Buhari has directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed and the Accountant General of the Federation to immediately effect the payment of February and March 2020 salaries to university lecturers, urgently by all means to cushion the deleterious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lecturers and members of their families.”

If Nigeria rulers are more often than not as considerate as the directive sounds, how will reasonable Nigerians not be hailing them as leaders? But then the caveat: “All Vice Chancellors are to revalidate affected lecturers’ BVN and forward to Accountant General of the Federation for the payments.” What does that mean? We are yet to be told.

That is not the end of the story. A form is designed for us to fill online, to include our BVN and other vital information, the submission of which may mean automatic registration into the obnoxious Integrated Payroll of Personnel Information System (IPPIS), consistently rejected by the Academic Staff Union of Nigeria Universities (ASUU) and reprehended by those who keyed into it. Yes, I read it that the “President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Professor Biọdun Ogunyẹmi, has directed its members not to submit their Bank Verification Number, BVN, to vice-chancellors.” The Yoruba people say a wise person who thinks that nobody else is wise is the father of foolishness.

Were we filling form when our salary was regular? Even if the government does not know those whose salaries were withheld, they should know those whose salaries were paid. And then they can subtract from the entire list. GMB and his cohorts think that hunger has dealt with the federal universities’ teachers enough, to the extent that whatever condition is put before them they will grab, including IPPIS. Yet, when I described GMB as extremely treacherous, wicked and corrupt, some people thought I was senseless. What ASUU rejects is not the decision to pay salary but the condition attached to it which is unwarranted, dubious and provocative. Government should come clean and explain to Nigerians why it is bent on imposing IPPIS on federal universities’ teachers when it is not used in any university worldwide and ASUU members who keyed into it, as traitors are weeping like Judas Iscariot who regretted.

That is the level of disorientation bedevilling Nigeria. The rulers are perpetrating Boko Haram (misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds, responsible for the gross underdevelopment of Nigeria and mass abject poverty) and, at the same time, they are squandering human lives and economic resources on waging war against Boko Haram, because might is right!

Prof. Olojeede Oyeniran Abioje wrote from the University of Ilorin.

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