Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The resumed meeting between the federal government and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has ended again yesterday night without any agreement.
However, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, was optimistic that the dispute with ASUU would be amicably resolved before Christmas so that schools can reopen in January in earnest.
The meeting, which was to avail both sides the opportunity to reconcile issues and possibly reach an agreement that will end the two-month old industrial action, ended abruptly with the leadership of ASUU staging a walk-out.
Efforts to get the ASUU team to talk on what transpired yielded no results as all the members of the negotiation team hurriedly left the meeting venue without uttering a word.
Instead, the ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said: “You people (journalists) should go and ask the minister “.
Also the minister went back to his office, leaving the hall empty.
While explaining what happened during the negotiation with ASUU, Ngige, said the meeting was fruitful as both parties considered the various reports that was presented.
He said the meeting even broke into closed-door session where the non-management staff of the ministry were excluded.
When confronted with the mood of the ASUU team, which signified that they probably left unhappy, Ngige said: “Departments and agencies of goverment were given assignment at the end of last meeting on December 10, and they all submitted their reports at the resumed talks. We took the reports and we were supposed to commence implementation but we decided to give ourselves some days to see whether we can accomplish that before Christmas.
On the issue of the walk-out by ASUU, Ngige said: “ No, there was no walk out.
“The meeting was peaceful, we even broke into executive session where asked staff members to leave”.