NKECHI NAECHE-ESEZOBOR—The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Mr Sonny Echono, on Monday expressed concern at the alarming number of Nigerian University lecturers who absconded after studying abroad under TETFund sponsorship.
He made the observation after the TETFund Management Retreat in Makurdi, Benue State, that the organisation had put in place measures to ensure that the university lecturers who absconded were sanctioned.
“I don’t want to give figures because it’s alarming, it’s very sad that this opportunity that has been given is being abused.
“The figure is comprehensive that is why it’s a bit large because there are others who have come back home but did not complete the minimum of their bond before deciding to relocate or japa as it’s called nowadays.
“We have database now which we are refining each time because the institutions are the ones submitting the report.
“Although it is a difficult thing to get accurate report but for some, it’s not that they absconded but they exceeded their course period.
“But some have extension in their programme but we have a very good idea and the number is not encouraging.
“What we are doing, first as a soft landing, we are requiring anybody who have benefitted from our programme and do not come back to make the full refund of the money expended on training them.
“The other option which is the harder one is that we are collaborating with our embassies, the embassies of the country where they are and the institutions to repatriate them.”
He also disclosed that the fund expended N320 billion on interventions in tertiary institutions across the country in 2023.
Echono, who said the retreat was to assess their performance in 2023 , said that over N400 billion had been disbursed to tertiary institutions over the years.
He said the figure being spent on interventions kept increasing every year, because more institutions were being enlisted in the TETFund intervention programme.
Echono said the intervention programmes ranges from infrastructural development of tertiary institutions, and sponsoring of lecturers on masters and PhD programmes overseas.