The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has attributed the shortage of lecturers at Nigerian universities to the exodus of lecturers seeking greener pastures abroad and the high numbers of retirements, News About Nigeria reports.
ASUU made this known on Sunday, stating that the shortage was primarily caused by the surge in lecturers leaving Nigeria and the circumstances surrounding the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
In the case of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, ASUU revealed that about one hundred lecturers had departed, while the Federal University, Gusau, Zamfara, expressed the urgent need for about 1,000 lecturers to fill vacancies. Additionally, over 350 academic positions were reportedly vacant at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The University of Lagos, the University of Ilorin, and the Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology are also facing challenges as both academic and non-academic staff members are leaving the country.
According to ASUU Chairman, Dr. Ray Chikogu, the shortage of staff in UNIBEN and other universities has been an enduring issue due to the Federal Government’s employment embargo and its interference in recruitment and promotion processes.
He bemoaned the academic staff department, stating that it is severely understaffed, with retirements not being adequately replaced, compelling many lecturers to seek opportunities abroad.
Bureaucratic bottlenecks, stemming from the need for multiple clearances from various Federal Government agencies, were also pointed out as factors responsible for the difficulties in filling vacancies at the Federal University of Kashere, Gombe State.
ASUU chairpersons and university spokespeople across the country expressed similar concerns about the shortage of staff members, attributing it to bureaucratic barriers, inadequate funding, harsh economic conditions, and the IPPIS system, which has created difficulties in recruiting new employees.
These challenges were reiterated by representatives from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Tai Solarin University of Education Ijagun, Ambrose Alli University, among others.
While some universities, such as the Federal University Oye Ekiti, claimed not to be in a shortage of academic staff, the general consensus remains that Nigerian universities are still struggling to retain and attract adequate academic staff members.
Economic hardships and non-payment of salaries have also been cited as factors contributing to the increasing “Japa syndrome,” where lecturers are leaving the country for better prospects abroad.
ASUU has, therefore, appealed to the Federal government to address these challenges and alleviate the shortage of academic staff members in Nigerian universities.