ASUU vindicated as FG uncovers 54,000 payroll frauds in IPPIS

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been vindicated as the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari detected about 54,000 fraudulent payroll entries in its Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) through the whistle-blowing policy.

Recall, that since February 14, 2022, there have been no academic activities in public universities in the country due to the ongoing ASUU strike.

The union is demanding the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) against the IPPIS.

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IPPIS which was conceptualized in October 2006 government as one of its Reform Programme, to curb corruption such as payment of salaries to ghost workers, as being said to have contributed to about 75% of problems affecting Nigeria’s university system.

A report by Nigeria’s Auditor General revealed that as of November 2020, more than 14 years after the rollout of IPPIS, a fraud of over N3.96 billion was identified. Recently, Nigeria’s former Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris was detained for an alleged N90 billion fraud that involved comprising the IPPIS.

Aside from the aforementioned frauds, IPPIS does not cater for the peculiarities of ASUU members, such as their earned allowances. In a 2019 FGN/ASUU agreement, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) was introduced by ASUU to make up for the gaps within IPPIS’s operations.

In the new development which reveals the weakness of the IPPIS, Babagana Monguno, who is the National Security Adviser (NSA) while speaking at the National Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Security organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Friday, September 9, 2022, in Abuja, attributed the discovery to the expansion of the coverage of IPPIS against stiff opposition from some quarters.

Monguno also said the deployment of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) to validate the Federal Government’s stance on the payment platform to the detection.

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He said the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in more than 90 per cent of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the government has resulted in the consolidation of more than 70,000 bank accounts previously spread across deposit money banks in the country, leading to the monthly saving of about N4 billion in bank charges.

The event was convened to discuss the current security challenges and how corruption is fuelling the problems in the country.

Also in attendance were the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan; the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, and the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, among others.

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