As the #EndSars protesters continue to gather momentum across, the country, the federal government has on Thursday resumed negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to put an end to the lingering strike action and also as a way of reducing the number of protesters.
For the past six months, university lecturers have refused to resume work owing to controversies surrounding the implementation of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) salary payment platform.
ASUU called out its members on an indefinite industrial action following their opposition to the federal government’s move to enforce the use of IPPIS.
It also proposed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a replacement for the controversial IPPIS.
However, all attempts to reach an agreement on this has proved abortive. Also, all attempts to resolve the dispute failed due partly to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic
Meanwhile, negotiations have resumed with team led by the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, will meet with the leadership of the union today.
The deputy director of press and public relations in the ministry, Charles Akpan, had on Wednesday said Mr Ngige will be hosting a meeting with the union on Thursday, October 15.
There is a likelihood of reaching a consensus on Thursday since the federal government has said it might consider the adoption of the University Transparency Account System (UTAS) on Tuesday.
The labour minister, Chris Ngige, disclosed the willingness to embrace the idea while addressing journalists after an about two and half hours closed-door meeting with the leadership of the Senate and ASUU.
Mr Ngige said that the alternative payment platform presented by ASUU was homegrown and worth giving a thorough assessment test.
“We agreed at the meeting to give required consideration to the UTAS alternative they came up with as a way of finding a lasting solution to the lingering crisis over implementation of IPPIS.
“We have neither jettisoned the implementation of the IPPIS nor fully accepted UTAS.
“The level we moved to now is to subject ASUU’s scheme to integrity tests and in doing so, it will be presented to users like the office of Accountant General of the Federation on Wednesday.
“After that, it will be sent to the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and from there to the office of the National Security Adviser for a second look.
“The platform is an option grown device that requires stage by stage consideration and from the looks of things is good,” he said