Poor remuneration: 10 lecturers of chemical, petroleum engineering ‘Japa’, says HOD, Dr. Babalola

L-R: Dr. Babalola, Dr. B.A. Olufemi and Dr. A.A. Akinola at the briefing of department’s 50th anniversary

As the ‘Japa’ syndrome continues in the Nigerian University System (NUS) as result of poor enumeration, the acting Head of Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Dr. Faith Babalola on Monday revealed that the department lost over 10 lecturers to the ‘Japa’ syndrome.

Dr. Bablola, who stated this at a briefing to mark the 50th anniversary of Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, used the occasion to call on the Federal Government to revive the adequate funding of education and also improved the remuneration of university lecturers.

According to her, in recent years, the challenges of poor funding and neglect have affected the department while attrition of staff and relocation (‘Japa’ syndrome) without replacement has posed threat to the proper running of the department.

Babalola disclosed that in the last 15 years, more than 10 lecturers in the department ‘Japa’ and another 10 retired from the system but were not replaced, adding, if someone decide to go because of the poor remuneration, you can’t stop him or her.’’

The HOD explained that by the National Universities Commission (NUC), ‘’we are supposed to more than 50 lecturers, but we only have about 20 lecturers because of ‘Japa’ syndrome and retirement without replacement.’’

She urged the federal government to revisit and uphold the autonomy of the universities to enable the system to attract the best hands and run seamlessly with minimal or no encumbrances from without.

Dr. Babalola said the department was established in 1973 with first admission of 15 students in October 1973 with ‘A’ level certificate for a three-year bachelor’s degree programme in Chemical Engineering.

She added that pioneer graduated of the department in 1976 were notable icons in the profession and academia, which include the former Governor of Abia State and former Minister of Science and Technology, Dr, Ogbonnaya Onu, President of Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers and former Group Executive Director NNPC, Engr. Tony Ogbuigwe and former HOD of the department, Prof. D.S. Aribike.

The acting HOD disclosed that the department turned out well-trained Chemical Engineering, who played key roles in shaping the profession in the country and academia as well as in the industry for over four decades.

She gave a breakdown of statistics of graduates the department churned out in the last 50 years, BSc Chemical Engineering 2, 169, BSc Petroleum and Gas Engineering 574, PDG Chemical Engineering66, MPE Chemical Engineering 242, MSc Chemical Engineering 633 and PhD Chemical Engineering 38.

“Some ageing equipment in the laboratories needs to be replaced with state-of-the-art hardware. As at today, some functional equipment and a few newly acquired ones coupled with the unmatched sacrifices on the part of the academic staff who bear the excess workload in spite of ridiculously poor have kept the system running and still producing the best of engineers who outshine their peers nationally and globally,’’ Babalola stated.

Babalola said the 50th anniversary comes with mixed feelings and hence the call by the department for assistance and support from wealthy Nigerians and Alumni to enable the department to pursue her new goals with renewed vision, high motivation and vigor so that in the next decade it would deliver on its mandate.

She further stated that with high state-of-the-art equipment, the department would churn out World-class graduates and provide solutions to national problems by collaborating with industry through research and innovation.

On poor churn out of PhD graduates, Dr. Babalola said the department started the programme in 1981 and that there was a time when the turnout of PhD graduates was high and affirmed that enrolment has really dropped.


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