The Senate, on Wednesday, launched an investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption leveled against officials of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System at various universities across the Federation.
The Senate also resolved to hold an interactive session with the Head of Service, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Chairman of the committee on Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, and other relevant stakeholders after it constitutes a committee on tertiary institutions.
This was sequel to a motion by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP, Anambra South) during Wednesday’s plenary.
IPPIS was introduced in 2007 to administer the monthly payroll of the Federal Government’s workers in a manner to guarantee confidence in staff emoluments.
There had been a disagreement between the Federal Government and ASUU on the preferred payment for Nigerian university staff.
The Federal Government insisted on IPPIS as the best payroll for the university system but ASUU rejected and recommended the University Transparency and Accountability Solution as a better alternative.
Since the introduction of the IPPIS, the university body has embarked on several strike actions to show their displeasure with the payroll method introduced by the Nigerian government.
Ubah during the motion noted that since the introduction of IPPIS, over two million Federal Government employees across 696 ministries, departments, and agencies, including some staff of Federal Government-owned universities and other tertiary institutions, had been reportedly captured on the IPPIS platform.
He recalled that the use of IPPIS for storage of personnel records and management of staff payroll in Federal Government-owned universities was a thorny issue between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
He further noted that while the Federal Government insisted that IPPIS remained the best personnel records and payroll management system to be used for the storage of records and management of payroll of university staff, ASUU took a different position, recommending the University Transparency and Accountability Solution as an alternative that is most suitable for universities particularly.
The senator said, “While the Federal Government and ASUU were unable to reach an agreement regarding which of the two payment platforms to be adopted for the management of university staff payroll, recent allegations of bribery, corruption, and delayed capturing and payment of some university staff recruited as far back as in 2020 through the IPPIS has called for urgent investigation of those irregularities because of untold hardship caused to affected university staff and their families.
“In many Federal Government universities, staff employed as far back as 2020 are yet to be captured on the IPPIS platform and therefore are not being paid their salaries since they were recruited about three years ago.
“Some of the affected staff cutting across many universities have been alleged to bribe IPPIS officials for the purpose of getting captured on the platform.
“The allegations of bribery, corruption, delayed capturing and payments of salaries of newly recruited staff of Federal Government-owned universities have cast serious doubt on the credibility and suitability of IPPIS as a platform for managing the payroll of university staff as institutions clothed with autonomy for the purposes of teaching, learning, and research.”
The Senate, after debate, resolved to investigate the allegations of bribery and corruption against IPPIS officials at various universities across the federation.
The probe, it said, would also include delayed capturing and payment of staff of federal government-owned universities as well as the status of the disagreement between the Federal Government and ASUU on the use of either IPPIS or UTAS as the preferred payment platform for Nigerian university staff.
The Red Chamber said the investigation would be carried out by its Committee on Tertiary Institutions when constituted.
Senators Adams Oshiomole (APC, Edo North), Abdul Ningi (Bauchi Central), Garba Maidoki (PDP, Kebbi South), and Ibrahim Dankwambo (PDP, Gombe North) supported the motion when it was thrown for debate.