AS the one-month warning strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities enters its fourth week, the Federal Government, on Wednesday, said ASUU had yet to upgrade and return the Universities Transparency Accountability Solution to it, which it said failed integrity tests.
The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, Kashifu Inuwa, disclosed this to State House correspondents shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
ASUU had presented the UTAS to the Federal Government as its preferred alternative to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System.
The Federal Government had insisted that UTAS, having failed the required tests, was unfit to be used as a payment platform. ASUU, however, is accusing the government of being unwilling to accept its alternative to the IPPIS.
Fielding questions on the government’s position on UTAS, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, revealed that when he received a letter from the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, requesting a review of the submission and the technical ability of the system, he forwarded the request to NITDA.
“They (NITDA) conducted their analyses, their own testing and sent same back to me, and I drafted a cover letter, which I forwarded to the Minister of Labour and Employment and I copied the two Ministers of Education and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and also the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and even the National Universities Commission,” he stated.
Pantami, thereafter, directed the DG of NITDA sitting next to him to explain the current state of affairs between the Federal Government and ASUU.
UTAS scored above 80%, ASUU insists
In its reaction, ASUU accused Pantami of trying to seek vengeance over the issue of the professorship, which he was awarded by the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, which the union opposed.
The ASUU President, Emmanuel Osodeke, said, “What the minister said, if true, can best be regarded as vengeance against ASUU for the FUTO ‘fraudfessorship’. The report by the NITDA showed that UTAS scored more than 80 per cent on technical assessment and more than 85 per cent on end user assessment. Can we say that 80 per cent and 85 per cent are failures?
The union had after its National Executive Council meeting in Lagos declared the minister’s promotion to the professorship cadre as “illegal.”
The minister’s elevation has generated controversies, with many faulting FUTO on the promotion of the minister, who was not teaching in the university and whose highest academic attainment was reportedly a lecturer before he ventured into politics.