Professor Emmanuel Osodeke who spoke to newsmen on issues surrounding the ongoing strike by university lecturers among others, made it known many lecturers are leaving for other countries due to the poor condition of service in Nigeria.
Osodeke, when asked what he thinks is responsible for the massive brain drain of lecturers, (making reference to the NUC’s 100,000 lecturers to over 2.1 million students in universities.) He replied saying;
“… we have less than 60,000 lecturers and not 100,000. The ratio is much wider than what was said by the NUC. What do you think is responsible? It’s because we can’t recruit. Because of our condition of service, lots are leaving the country for other countries, but nobody is coming here. That’s the problem. That’s why we recruit people who are not fit to be lecturers. We need to improve on our condition of service so that we can attract lecturers from all over the world, so that those who have left due to brain drain can come back; we will not be moving forward if we don’t do this. We have to upgrade the condition of service in Nigeria in such a way we can attract lecturers all over the world”
On what he thinks is the way out? He said; “For you to get the best, you have to improve the welfare package. A lecturer is earning about $600 a month here, but $10,000 a month abroad. Nigerians are running away in droves because of the poor working conditions and environment.
On the issue of foreign universities coming to advertise to Nigerians? He said;
“People will come from outside to take our people away. We were told by the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) that every year Nigerians pay N1.6tn to foreign universities. So, they are coming for marketing. People come from the outside to come and take our people away because they know that we have the money to pay. Nigerian lecturers are leaving because of the poor learning condition.
Nigeria should do the right thing and implement our agreement, upgrade the university system and fund universities appropriately so that we can attract students from all over the world.”
When asked if he thinks the government will heed his advice? He responded, saying;
“If the will is there, they will do it. Remember in the 1980s, we were telling Ghana to go; now, we are the ones going to Ghana. Budgetary allocation to education in Nigeria is 5.4 per cent, but in Ghana’s is 16 to 20 per cent. So they should work on that. If we upgrade our own, people will come here. Increase in budget will suffice. For you to attract those people here, you have to increase the welfare package of lecturers.”