The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has warned the Federal Government against encouraging brain drain with a lingering strike and nonchalant attitude towards the yearnings of ASUU.
Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, the President, ASUU, in an interview held on Sunday, said Ethiopia has already recruited 200 professors from Nigeria while South Africa, Ghana, Egypt, etc have a sizeable number of Nigerian professors.
He warned that the few presently pushing the government for an amicable resolution are patriots that have refused to abandon the nation despite government lackadaisical attitude towards lecturers and the entire academic system.
He said “If not for patriotism, our members would have abandoned universities and flee to better countries where they will be better treated. Do you know the number of African countries looking for Nigerian professors? A few months ago, Ethiopia came to recruit 200 professors from Nigeria.
“I don’t want to talk of South Africa. Go to Ghana, Egypt, you will see them there. We treat our scholars with discontent. Each time they step out, they are highly valued and highly-priced. The government is eager to sign MoU with low priced countries of yellow skin, but their universities where they should draw the partnership they are looking for, they have treated with disdain. No country in the world does that.
“Universities are incubating centres for innovation, creativity, and development. So, if anybody thinks that ASUU does not love this country, that person should be interrogated to define the concept of patriotism. ASUU members are great patriots and deserve all the respect the nation can accept them.”
Responding to Mr Sonny Echonu, Permanent Secretary to the Federal Ministry of Education, a comment that the lingering strike was uncalled for and unnecessary, Ogunyemi said ASUU is fighting for the interest of Nigeria and to prevent further brain drain.
“I totally disagree with the permanent secretary. Everything ASUU is doing is in the interest of the nation. If we allow our universities to collapse, I can assure you that the children of the poor will suffer and the nation will pay dearly for it. We are yet to recover from the brain drain experienced. I don’t think they should allow us to suffer the second aspect of the brain drain. But we can understand if the ruling class does not care if universities should collapse.”
In 2006, Ethiopia engaged the services of 600 professors, according to Olusegun Akinsanya, the former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ethiopia.
Akinsanya added that over 3,000 Nigerians were living in Ethiopia and that most of them were professionals who were doing very well in their chosen career.
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