IPPIS, ASUU Strike and COVID-19 Pandemic

By Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim,

Academics otherwise known as lecturers in Nigeria under the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are opposing the recently introduced Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) in late 2019 by the federal government to stop irregularities in Nigerian universities.  The issue has called for so many debates between the latter and the former which led to two-week warning strike. IPPIS has so many benefits to students, unemployed Nigerians and the federal government as the case may be.

According to the federal government, with the aid of IPPIS, more than 50, 000 ghost workers have been detected. At the same time, students will be happy because the number of sabbaticals their lecturers go for is reduced. Therefore, this will earn them more time and attention from their lecturers. Because of this said IPPIS, several unemployed Nigerians have secured employment with tertiary institutions.

ASUU on their side is alone. Always repeating that IPPIS is against the universities law. In fact, their national president was saying that there is nothing wrong for lecturers to teach in more than two universities. Claiming that they can borrow and share ideas from other universities. I am not denying these but are students considered. Justice is not done to them in most cases. Some lecturers go for sabbatical and leave their students without giving them proper attention.

Time after time, academics strike in Nigeria is no longer news. Though the ASUU strike is an unwanted break for students. Not all students but serious ones. I am aware of the students that are happy with the strike. Those who jubilated with their friends are happy with the strike, either online or physically are mostly freshers, unserious and those who don’t know the pains of ASUU strike.

Aside from the aforementioned, ASUU said that IPPIS is not the only reason for the strike. They said they have a pending agreement with the federal government. One can recall that this has been the cause of several strikes in the past. Nigeria is getting 60 yet ASUU still goes on strike year by year except for few years.

Although I am too young, I don’t hear about academics going on strike in other countries. Even in our neighbouring-countries. And at the same time, our colleagues and seniors travel overseas for studies. They travel to Malaysia, the UK, India and other countries. Still, they complete their studies within a short period of time. While in Nigeria, we keep on experiencing strikes. It delays studies.

All students are left at a corner as all institutions are closed including polytechnics, colleges, monotechnic, Police Academy, private universities, nursery, primary and secondary schools and etc. Those who are not affected by the ASUU strike initially, are now affected. Coronavirus Pandemic halts everything.

Coronavirus Pandemic outbreak led to the closure of Nigerian universities amidst ASUU strike. And now that ASUU embarked on an indefinite strike, students have no hope to return early even if coronavirus ends. Everyone’s concern now is on COVID-19. The meeting cannot be held between ASUU and the federal government except with digital devices as no physical gathering of many people is allowed in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

In abroad, classes are moved to the internet I.e online. But unfortunately, in Nigeria, nothing like that except in Lagos where they will use electronic media to teach. As time goes on, the unwanted vacation otherwise known as social distancing will elapse without continuing with studies i.e for those not affected with ASUU strike.

Now, that COVID-19 is in Nigeria, people will believe that it is real. And now should be the high time for us to become more serious. Thousands of lives are lost globally. The best way to tackle this is to turn to Almighty Allah and seek for His forgiveness if only we want to overcome the present tough time we are facing, the coronavirus pandemic and many other things that may come. This is the stand of so many Islamic scholars.

Concerning this coronavirus disease, the federal government didn’t do the needful to prevent it from coming into Nigeria at the initial. Failure to close the airports, borders on time is the first mistake Nigeria made. The “no going out and no coming in” order as contained in the Islamic teachings was not used. The carelessness of Nigerians should stop like this if not, they will keep endangering people’s lives.

I have listened to various Islamic scholars in Nigeria. They include Shaykh Ahmad Tijjani Yusuf Guruntum, Shaykh Musa Yusuf Asadus-Sunnah, Late Shaykh Albani Zaria amongst others talked about the causes of the disease outbreak in Islam. They said that we should repent and turn to The Almighty Allah.  They also warned Muslims from committing acts of sin. And also added that we should follow the advice of health experts.


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