While the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have failed to arrive at a common ground, the union has said twenty-five scholars in northeastern Nigeria have within the last two months been harvested by a private university in Yola, the Adamawa state capital.
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President of ASUU, Professor Abiodun Ogunyemi revealed this when he appeared on ARISE News and said threats by the government to explore other channels if university lecturers insist on continuing with its strike action will be futile.
Ogunyemi noted that Nigerian professors are well sought after and warned the federal government to ensure it prevents a second wave of brain drain.
“We don’t know what other options they will be talking about, maybe they want to intimidate the union into surrender. You don’t do that with scholars, no country has ever survived it.
“I can tell you authoritatively that within the last two months 25 scholars from our universities in the northeast have been harvested by this private university in Yola, we know the owner.
“That is how it’s happening, they are poaching the public universities now, I mean the private universities because they can only thrive when public universities are not standing and they are praying for that, they want more of that,” he said.
“We are also aware that some few months back, Ethiopia came to Nigeria, and harvested as many as 200 professors and they are still looking for more. I don’t know, for those who are in government if they want those political appointees they seconded into the universities to be the teachers their children. Of course, many of them don’t have their children in public universities, I will say 90% of them, that is why they cannot feel it. Our scholars are our national assets and we should not allow them to be decimated.”
Ogunyemi strongly advised the federal government “not to push the country’s scholars out of their life-time commitments as Nigeria will be the biggest loser.”
He said; “what we have seen in this country is that scholars are just treated as people you can pick from the streets and you replace them like casual workers.
“But we want to counsel, we want to strongly advise, that Nigeria will be the loser if we push them psychologically out of their lifetime commitment.”
By Abel Ejikeme