The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), yesterday came hard on the National Information and Technology Agency (NITDA), describing it as another misinformation and deceptive organ of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Ibadan Zonal Coordinator of the union, which has been on strike for close two months, Prof. Oyebamiji Oyegoke, while addressing journalists in Ibadan,said the agency has declared war on ASUU and Nigerians by misinforming the public on the true result of University Accountability Solution (UTAS)
According to him, NITDA is poised to continue to elongate the strike by dishing deliberate falsehood on the status of UTAS developed by the union to replace the Integrated Personnel Payroll System (IPPIS).
He said, “Our union was amazed that by Saturday, 26th March 2022, NITDA again embarrassed the nation by going public with misleading information taken from the December 2021 discredited report of the first test, leaving out the results of the recent jointly conducted second test on UTAS”.
He maintained that UTAS scored 99.3 per cent in the reassessment done and that cannot be described by a sane mind as failure.
Oyegoke, who was flanked by the Chairpersons of University of Ibadan (UI), (Ayo Akinwole); LAUTECH, (Biodun Olaniran); UNILORIN, (Moyosore Ajao); KWASU, (Shehu Salau) and UNIOSUN, (Wende Olaosebikan), said the UTAS joint re-assessment scored the platform high, stating that the home-grown solution cannot be said to have failed with this score.
He said: “That UTAS, a homegrown personnel management and payment platform for the Nigerian University System has failed to pass certain quality assurance tests conducted by NITDA is a statement of deception and a negation of the Nigerian Local Content Act of 2010. Rather than been economical with the truth, what NITDA did not mention was that it was the rejection of its earlier declaration on UTAS by ASUU that led to the setting up of a conciliation meeting between FGN and ASUU held on Tuesday, 22nd February, 2022.
“At this meeting, it was agreed that the technical teams of ASUU and NITDA should work together in re-assessing the UTAS. The joint re-assessment which was conducted from Tuesday 8th to Friday 18th March, 2022, between 2.00 – 5.00 pm daily with second week extending up to 7.00 pm culminated in the re-assessment of 698 cases with only five cases requiring modifications to give a performance score of 99.3%.
“This joint re-assessment exercise was observed by: (a) Federal Ministry of Education (b) National Universities Commission; (c) Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (d) Office of the Accountant General of the Federation; (e) Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment; and (f) National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission. After the ten days of meeting for the re-assessment, the ASUU and NITDA technical teams agreed to reconvene on Monday 28th March 2022 to conclude on the outstanding test cases, demonstration of the payment gateway, and implementation of some recommendations on the UTAS platform.
“On Wednesday 23rd March 2022, NITDA informed ASUU that the meeting earlier scheduled for Monday 28th March 2022 will no longer hold and that they have concluded their report and will forward it to the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment.”
He therefore called on NITDA to furnish Nigerians the criteria to determine failure when UTAS scored 99.3 per cent.
“Many questions call for answers about the remarks of NITDA on UTAS. First of these is the response to ASUU’s request for the criterion used in arriving at their conclusion on UTAS’s performance. Up till now NITDA has not responded. That a national body of such standing will not define or state its measuring standards for a national assignment is a dent on its avowed declaration of ‘commitment and professionalism’ it claims to profess.
“Secondly, it is important to emphasize the fact that both NITDA and ASUU agreed on methodology to use in the assessment of test cases, namely, UTAS Test Plan, UTAS Security Test Plan and UTAS Test Cases. There is no way that NITDA can disown usage of these methodology talk-less of its outcome during the exercise.
“Thirdly, NITDA would have had grounds for objection on UTAS demonstration and verification if ASUU had failed to answer questions that were raised on recognised seven high risk items; if NITDA’s request to be allowed to carry out the test manually was not granted; and lastly if as agreed, NITDA had waited for Monday 28th March, 2022 to “conclude on the outstanding test cases, demonstration of the payment gateway, and implementation of some recommendations” instead of its going out of the way to make a unilateral declaration on Saturday 26th March, 2022.”