The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Bauchi Zone has accused the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and its parent ministry, the Ministry of Communications, of sabotaging the Federal Government’s efforts in resolving the impasse between it and the Union.
The Union has also called on well-meaning citizens of the country and government to call the Ministry and NITDA to order; urging them to be “patriotic and ethical” in their conduct by adhering to the reports on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) integrity test.
ASUU disclosed this through its Bauchi Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Lawan Abubakar, while briefing journalists at the University of Jos Secretariat of the Union.
Abubakar said, “As you are all aware, our great Union, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has been on strike since 15th February 2022.
One out of the seven demands the Union is impressing on the Federal Government to address is the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) to replace Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) for personnel payments and management in the University System, UTAS was developed to address the peculiarities of the University system which the IPPIS does not in addition to the already observed weaknesses and encumbrances experienced in the University System operations and other MDA’s”, he explained.
Following the successful development of UTAS by ASUU, the Federal Government of Nigeria directed the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in line with its core mandate, to carry out Integrity Tests on the software.
The Tests conducted are User Acceptance Test (UAT), and Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Tests. The summary of the first Tests conducted by NITDA scored UTAS software at 97.4%.
However, even after scoring UTAS this high, NITDA went further to contradict itself by making a fallacious statement that UTAS has failed Integrity Tests. The Union wonders how a score of 97.4% will amount to failure.
Despite this, the Union still agreed to another Test by NITDA on 8th March, 2022 in the presence of observers from the Federal Ministry of Education/National Universities Commission (NUC), Federal Ministry of Finance/OAGF, Federal Ministry of Labour & Employment and the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.
This most recent Test still scored UTAS 99.3% in all the Tests metrics, ASUU is therefore surprised that NITDA, having scored UTAS this high on two different occasions, unpatriotically went to the Press to deliberately mislead the public into believing that UTAS has failed Integrity Tests again”, he further explained.
The Zonal Coordinator maintained that it is worth noting that NITDA was established to promote and encourage homegrown Information Technology solutions as envisioned in the FGN Local Content Act of 2010. Rather than commend ASUU for this great and patriotic feat at no cost to the Government, NITDA is frantically working to suppress and oppress the wholly homegrown solution aimed at advancing the operations of the Nigerian University system.
It will also interest Nigerians to know that UTAS has been applauded at all fora where it was presented to major stakeholders.
UTAS, which was developed as a payment platform and for personnel management in accordance with the University Laws is one of the core issues in ASUU’s current struggle. Ironically, NITDA in conjunction with its parent Ministry (The Ministry of Communications) is seriously sabotaging the Government’s efforts at resolving the impasse”, he decried.
This is obviously capable of prolonging the current strike thereby bringing untold hardship on Nigerian University students and the University system”, Abubakar warned.
We, therefore, call on well-meaning Nigerians and the Government to call the Ministry of Communications and NITDA to order.
The Ministry and its parastatal, NITDA, should be patriotic and ethical in its conduct by adhering to the reports on the UTAS Integrity Tests in the interest of ending the current strike”, he stressed