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By NBF News

Members of the Umaru Musa Yar'Adua University chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday, August 16, declared a two-week warning strike to press home their demands. The branch Chairman of the union, Usman Abdullahi, who made this known at a press conference in Katsina re-affirmed their unyielding resolve to pursue the full implementation of the ASUU/FGN Agreement by the state government.

Abdullahi stated that the determination of the state government 'to partially and unilaterally implement the agreement without recourse to the laws of Katsina State (2010 Budget) is tantamount to the breach of employment contract and violation of the laws of Katsina State.'

The ASUU leader, who called on the state government to fully implement the said agreement effective July 2009, dismissed the 50 percent pay rise approved for the lecturers as unacceptable.

'It is unfortunate that the state government kept quiet about our autonomy and academic freedom we are agitating for in this university,' said the chairman. He also identified increased funding, new salary structure and other welfare needs as some of their grievances yet to be addressed by the state.

He said the union would remain committed to the full implementation of the ASUU/FGN Agreement because the document spelt out 'the minimum standard for establishing a university in Nigeria.'

Abdullahi warned that the union would be compelled to take the next line of action after two weeks if the state government did not respond positively to their demands.

He noted that the state government's committee that recommended only a marginal pay rise for the tertiary institutions in the state did not receive any input from ASUU at any point in the discharge of its assignment.

On the allegation that the union was being teleguided by some politicians, the chairman said they were academics propelled solely by their conviction that the situation in the university should be improved upon.

'The state government has the right to say anything, but we know we are academics and we behave as academics; there is no politics in this, we talk with facts and figures. We have resolved and are determined to do what it may take to bring government to accent to our demands,' he stated.

Contacted, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Higher Education, Adamu Mato, pleaded for some time to look into the development before commenting on the issue.