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ASUU strike: Group asks lecturers to review UTAS, embrace diligence

ASUU strike: Group asks lecturers to review UTAS, embrace diligence

The Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative (TADI) has called on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to review the union’s payment software and embrace diligence in its quest to establish an ideal payment system.

ASUU has been on strike over numerous issues among which is the impasse over the payment system, payment of the earned academic allowance, and the 2009 salary structure agreement, among others.

The lecturers maintained that the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) is the union’s accepted payment system as against the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) demanded by the federal government.

TADI, a non-governmental organisation in its effort to find lasting solutions to the ongoing impasse between the government and ASUU urged the union to address the issues surrounding the UTAS.

According to Kashifu Inuwa, the director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the union’s proposed payment solution failed three integrity tests. But ASUU insisted that UTAS scored 85 and 77 percent, which the union believes are “high-class grades in any known evaluation”.

In view of this, Yomi David and Adeniran Taiwo, the executive director, and director of public relations of TADI respectively admonished ASUU to review the proposed software and make the necessary adjustments for excellent performance.

“It should be noted that NITDA has a constitutional right as the only agency with the mandate to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardisation, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation, and regulation of information technology practices, activities, and systems in Nigeria,” the statement reads.

Read also: Strike: ASUU urges Nigerians to prevail on FG to save education system

“In 2016, the agency issued Software Testing and Quality Assurance Framework and Guideline, and furthermore, Section 10 of the Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in ICT, 2019 provides detailed guidelines and expectations for Indigenous Software Development and Software Enabled Products and Services.

“Therefore, the rule of law and due process should not be jettisoned in the bid to get better service solutions for our university system. The testimonial of the competence of NITDA in discharging her vital constitutional role over the years speaks for itself with the level of NITDA’s commitment and professionalism exhibited in carrying out its responsibilities.

“Several other indigenous software solution patents have enjoyed the verification and certification process through these quality assurance guidelines as stipulated by NITDA.

“It should be noted that quality assurance testing of any product is done to ensure the delivery of a high-quality end product and assures that the product is glitch-free before it is released. In view of this, we found out that the agency had to carry 3 out of the 8 tests specified in the Software Testing and Quality Assurance Framework and Guideline.

“These tests are User Acceptance Test (UAT), Stress Test, and Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Test (VAPT) in which a total of 687 test cases were generated with which 529 passed, 156 failed and 2 cautionary warnings were the outcome. However, this alone reveals that a payment solution platform which should be near 100percent in default has several loopholes of high-risk vulnerabilities and informational risks that were identified.”

The executives of TADI also reiterated that ASUU as an organisation is known to comprise personalities of high academic excellence and standards, and as such, the union should seek to embrace diligence in all its actions.

Meanwhile, ASUU has stated that the position and utterances of NITDA are capable of prolonging the strike, as the union remains resolute the strike action will not be called off until government implements the renegotiated agreement, and pay all arrears, among others.

Adelaja Odukoya, the Lagos zonal coordinator of the union disclosed this at a press conference held recently at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta( FUNAAB).

“It has become very clear to our Union that the unilateral cancellation of the meeting of Monday, March 28th was a proof that NITDA has come to the final stop and admitted failure in all the orchestrated unpatriotic attempts to sabotage and discredit UTAS which an otherwise forward-looking government would be finding ways of deploying beyond the Nigerian public universities for which it was designed. It can, therefore, not be over-emphasized that government has run out of reasons and lies not to accept approve, and adopt UTAS,” the statement read in part.

ASUU vehemently maintained its stand that the strike would not be suspended until the government addresses the adoption of UTAS, implement the renegotiated agreement, pay all outstanding allowances and fulfills all other issues contained in the Memorandum of Action signed with the union.