Fresh crises have risen following the declaration of the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Kashifu Inuwa, that the University Transparency and Accountability Solution created by the Academic Staff Union of Universities in lieu of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System for the payment of university lecturers had failed an integrity test.
ASUU in a statement which it released on Sunday in Abuja accused Inuwa of deliberately misinforming the public and had therefore invited the minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami and Inuwa to a public debate over the integrity of UTAS.
The statement signed by the national president, ASUU, Emmanuel Osodeke, partly read, “The one-month roll-over strike by our union on 14th February 2022, has entered its 4th week. During this period we have been having engagements with the government over the contending issues that necessitated the action.
“One of the contending issues is the deployment of the UTAS which is a robust software created by ASUU technical group to manage personnel and payroll in the University system.
“The Federal Government had referred UTAS to NITDA to conduct user acceptance test and vulnerability test assessment and penetration test prior to the final deployment. The process, which commenced on Thursday, March 3 is still ongoing.”
“This press statement is necessitated by the need for ASUU to put the records straight on the grounds already covered in our patriotic struggle to get the government to deploy UTAS as a suitable solution for salary payment.
“Of special concern is the statement credited to both the minister of communications and digital economy and the Director General of NITDA, to the effect that UTAS had failed integrity test.
“Let us put it on record that an integrity test was carried out by NITDA on August 10, 2021 in NUC where relevant government agencies and all the end-users in the University system were present. At the end of the exercise, all without exception expressed satisfaction with UTAS. This was attested to the effect that UTAS scored 85 percent in User Acceptance Test.”
ASUU, in the statement also added that it was worried that while engagement was still going on in the second round of testing, the Minister and the DG, NITDA, “went to press after the FEC meeting of Wednesday, 9th March 2022, to mislead the nation that UTAS failed the integrity test”.
“Clearly, 85 percent and 77 percent are high class grades in any known evaluation. In their desperation to justify their false assertion, they threw up issues such as data centre and hosting of UTAS software which are clearly outside the rubrics of ASUU’s responsibilities in the deployment of UTAS.
The union further cautioned the minister and the DG, NITDA against “making comments that are capable of jeopardising the joint ongoing testing of UTAS between the NITDA technical team and its counterpart in our union.
“However, if this behavior continues, we will have no choice but to demand that the report on UTAS be made public in order to shed more light on the ongoing controversies without further waste of time. The DG NITDA, and the minister superintending the agency are challenged to a public discussion on any national media to put all matters to rest for the benefit of our students, union members, and the Nigerian public in general”.