Representatives of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday staged a walkout from a meeting with a federal government delegation.
The government delegation was led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
Despite the walkout, Mr Ngige expressed optimism that the strike would soon be called off.
The university lecturers embarked on an indefinite strike on November 4, demanding improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government.
The National President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, led the union’s delegation to Monday’s meeting.
The ASUU delegation arrived at the ministry at exactly 5:00 p.m. but no member of the federal government delegation was around as at this time.
The government delegation led by Mr Ngige arrived at exactly 6:00 p.m.
The minister of education, Adamu Adamu, was absent at the time the meeting started.
Before the walkout and at the start of the meeting, Mr Ngige told the lecturers that he hopes a consensus on most of the issues is reached at the end of the meeting.
He assured the union that attention will be paid to three critical demands, which are salary shortfall, university revitalisation and earned allowances of lecturers.
After the walkout by the lecturers, they did not brief journalists on what caused their action.
Mr Ogunyemi, who led ASUU’s delegation to Monday’s meeting, refused to make any comment.
Mr Ngige, who briefed journalists after the walkout, did not also state what the grievances of the lecturers were. He, however, expressed optimism that the strike would be called off soon.
He said negotiations are still ongoing with ASUU and that the federal government will try to have an agreement with the lecturers before Christmas so as to allow affected university students return to school in January.
Reacting to the walk out by ASUU’s representatives, Mr Ngige said the lecturers were only dissatisfied with the decision reached.
“There is no walk out because we even broke into a session that is on camera. We can say they were dissatisfied because he is a union leader so if he doesn’t get 100 per cent he might not be smiling.
“Note that any meeting you have and people come out smiling, that means somebody has cheated the other,” he said.