ASSU currently looks like a fish in trouble waters. The Federal Government says its insistence on members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) producing their Bank Verification Number (BVN) for the payment of their withheld two months will expose those with multiple jobs. ASUU members, who are currently on an indefinite strike, on Wednesday rejected the demand by the Federal Government to produce their BVN before the payment of their February and March salaries.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday approved the payment of the withheld two months salaries of ASUU members who refused to enrol on the Integrated Payment Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
In a swift reaction, ASUU explained that the Federal Government does not require lecturers’ BVN to pay the two months withheld salaries.
The Federal Government through the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono told Daily Sun that the affected ASUU members were not asked to enrol in the IPPIS before being paid their February and March salaries.
Echono explained that the affected lecturers were only asked to provide their BVN to their vice-chancellors, adding ”truth is finally coming out. Why are they afraid of BVN? Because all payments to a single lecturer through multiple accounts with different universities will be linked and traced through BVN.
“Those working in three, four or five universities and still claiming allowances for excess workload in their parent university will be exposed. This is the crux of the matter. It is about transparency and accountability period. Ask them about moonlighting by their members and draw your own conclusions.”
ASUU Lagos Zone Coordinator Prof Olusiji Sowande confirmed that VCs of the concerned federal universities were directed to collect BVN from ASUU members who have not been paid the February and March.
According to him, the salaries of lecturers in federal universities are usually paid without BVN and he wondered why the government is demanding for it, stating that the intention is to gather information about lecturers that rejected the IPPIS.
Some of the vice-chancellors confirmed to our correspondent the directive to demand lecturers’ BVN and also acknowledged the opposition of ASUU to the use of BVN to pay the withheld two months’ salaries.
ASUU University of Lagos chapter in a circular to members said information from some branches indicated that the payment is conditioned upon filling of IPPIS form and submission of BVN. “Our union’s opposition to the obnoxious and retrogressive IPPIS enrollment for which we have been vindicated still stands. While thanking our members for being resolute and steadfast in the struggle for a better public university system in Nigeria, please, be rest assured that sooner than later all our outstanding salaries would be paid without any encumbrance,” Dr Dele Ashiru, ASUU UNILAG added.