The Federal Government has begun the dismissal of contract lecturers in federal-owned universities across the federation.
Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President, confirmed in an interview that contract lecturers had already been disengaged at Bayero University, Kano State, and the Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State.
He stated that the lecturers were dismissed due to their refusal to enrol in the Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform run by the Federal Government to manage its employees across all sectors.
He also disclosed that lecturers at the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, and the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, had yet to receive their February and March salaries.
Ogunyemi insisted that such moves by the Federal Government undermine the autonomy of federal universities to recruit competent local and foreign lecturers.
“There are still two universities which had not got their salaries – Michael Okpara University and the University of Maiduguri. What we also suspected has now been confirmed; they forcefully moved our members to the IPPIS and consequently, contract staff have been sacked. And the disengagement of the contract staff is a disservice to the Nigerian university system as we have it today,” Ogunyemi told the Punch.
“The first problem with that is that it is going to rob our universities of the high calibre human resources in certain areas. These are areas where we have a scarcity of personnel. If I ask you, how many professors of neurosurgery do we have in Nigeria? I don’t think they are more than five, and universities have to produce neurosurgeons.
“These are the people who have to train a new crop of academics because it takes a professor to produce a professor. So, when you dispose of their services, you have cut off that chain of continuity.
“The disengagement has started in Federal University, Wukari, and the BUK, Kano. By doing that, IPPIS is creating a problem by appropriating the powers of the council in terms of employment, promotion, and disengagement of the people in the system.”
In its reaction, the Federal Government said some universities employed contract staff through unscrupulous means, adding that the huge personnel costs racked up by higher institutions of learning needs to be reduced.
Ben Goong, spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of Education, said, “I don’t know what they meant by expert hands. IPPIS is being implemented by the Ministry of Finance and Budget Planning. They have nothing to do with the employment of staff in universities.
“By October and November 2019, universities engaged so many staff; they were fraudulent about staff engagement and a university that has 5,000 staff will say they have 7,000 staff and you have this huge personnel cost that was pushed to the universities. Virtually, most universities are guilty of this.”
ASUU is currently on strike following the implementation of the IPPIS by the Federal Government.