The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has told Nigerians to hold National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) responsible for the elongation of industrial action in Nigerian universities because of seeming partisan disposition and double standards.
Making the position at a press conference Wednesday in Yola, Zonal coordinator of ASUU, Yola zone, Comrade Reuben Jonathan accused NITDA of causing unnecessary hurdles in order to stymie and frustrate ASUU in the ongoing talks to resolve the lecturers differences with the federal government on the issue of University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS), a software developed by ASUU to address lingering challenges with IPPIS.
He noted that NITDA has been playing behind-the-scene games in order to frustrate ASUU’s drive to reach a conclusive stand with the FG on the issue noting that such unpatriotic posture made ASUU to convene press conference to tell Nigerians the true position of things.
“In our previous press conference here in Yola, we briefed you and the general public that, NITDA was mandated by the FGN to conduct an integrity test on the University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS) developed by the union.
“The NITDA’s report indicated that UTAS failed some fundamental test cases, and consequently a certificate of compliance could not be issued at that stage.
“The said tests were not valid because NITDA introduced parameters that were alien to the university system. Even so, the platform was rated 97.4% by NITDA. However, these perceived flaws have been worked out in later meetings between our unions and NITDA.
“The union and NITDA technical teams met six times in March 2022, for the remediation of all issues raised on the platform, after which UTAS was rated 99.3% by NITDA.
“After the rating, the NITDA and ASUU representatives were supposed to meet and sign the certified document as is the convention. But since the last meeting, when NITDA rates UTAS 99.3%, the NITDA team has been evasive. The unpatriotic tendency displayed by NITDA at this stage raises more concerns as one begins to wonder whose interests are they representing,” Jonathan said.
The university don added that it has become glaring that corruption is fighting the institutionalization of UTAS in the university system especially considering the myriads of challenges dogging the IPPIS.
“At this point one is compelled to wonder whether NITDA ever tested (IPPIS) before it was imposed on us by the FGN to counter UTAS through NITDA is a clear example of corruption fighting back if one dares.
“In normal societies, one would not be discussing IPPIS in Nigeria by now given the 2019 report of the Auditor General of the Federation and the report on IPPIS which is laden with over 3000 ghost workers, among other evidence of IPPIS replete with corruption.
Jonathan said it boggles any rational mind that NITDA has abandoned its core mandate of encouraging the development of indigenous software while the federal government refused to take a volte face in despite the fact that the IPPIS currently in vogue is riddled with corruption.
ASUU urged Nigerians to prevail on the federal government to conclude action on the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU/FGN agreement and to accept and deploy UTAS as it has nothing to lose.