Universities in Nigeria are battling a severe shortage of staff as thousands of lecturers leave the tertiary institutions to seek greener pastures in foreign lands amid the high number of retirements at the varsities.
ASUU at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, said about 100 lecturers had left the university, while the union at the Federal University, Gusau, Zamfara, disclosed that the institution was in need of about 1,000 lecturers to fill the vacancies created by those who had left.
The union at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State said over 350 academic vacancies were available at the institution, while 27 lecturers had left two faculties at the University of Lagos, as 100 workers at the University of Uyo travelled out of the country.
The union disclosed that about 500 academic vacancies existed at the University of Ilorin in Kwara State, while both academic and non-academic staff of the Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology were leaving the country.
The Chairman, Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa, Ondo State, Dr. Rotimi Olorunsola, said many of the staff of the institution, both academic and non-academic, had left the university.
Olorunsola said, “Yes, some have japa (travelled out of the country), both the academic staff and non-academic.”
The Head of the Media and Protocol, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Mr Victor Akinpelumi, confirmed that many workers of the institution had moved out of the institution.
“It is true many workers, both academic and non-academic, have left the university, but as I am now, I can’t give a specific number. I can confirm that many workers of the university have gone,” he stated.
The Chairman of ASUU, University of Benin, Dr Ray Chikogu, said the shortage of staff in UNIBEN and other universities had been a problem that existed for a long time due to the embargo on employment by the Federal Government.
He said this constituted undue interference by the government in the running of the universities, especially as it affected the recruitment and promotion of staff.
He said, “The teaching staff department is grossly understaffed. For a very long time, academic staff have been overburdened with work in the University of Benin and many other universities in the country.
“It has been a problem for a number of years now because of the embargo on employment in federal universities and the process of recruitment of staff is a very cumbersome one. The university has to obtain permission from the head of service through the accountant-general’s office.
IPP was introduced by the Federal Government a few years ago as part of measures to solve the problem of ghost workers and civil servants who earned multiple salaries.
However, a lot of workers, particularly those in universities, are not comfortable with the initiative, as it does not enable the institutions to employ workers even when such universities are highly understaffed.
The management of the Obafemi Awolowo University and the leadership of ASUU in the institution, while speaking in separate interviews, said there was a shortage of staff members in the university.
The Chairman of the OAU ASUU, Prof Tony Odiwe, decried the poor treatment of academic staff members and demanded a better working environment for the lecturers.
He said, “The government doesn’t care about the system, treating us as if we are slaves, terrible conditions of service, no motivation, and poor facilities. In addition to this, retired members are not being replaced, we are extremely overworked.”
On the shortage of lecturers, Odiwe said, “Our members have gone and many are still planning to leave especially, the younger ones in the system.
“Yes, Japa has contributed immensely to it. It is natural as humans that we want to work or live in a place where we are valued, where we will be fulfilled and contribute to the growth and development of our society.