President of the Republic of Liberia, George Weah visited Nigeria on 5 March 2018. The main reason for Weah’s visit was the technical agreement between Nigeria and Liberia which will see Nigeria providing Liberia with 6,000 teachers to bridge the existing wide gap in the number of teachers in the country.
This decision which many Nigerians see as a good news going by social media comments is one that needs to be executed with caution. At the moment, majority of Nigerian schools especially the ones owned by government are poorly equipped with teachers and the existing ones are not trained as at when due to meet up with the increasing demand of the society.
In our bid to provide Liberia with 6,000 teachers, two things may happen which Nigeria may suffer for in the long run. One, the decision will lead to mass emigration as majority of capable hands will leave the country for Liberia in the hope that the country will provide a more conducive environment for teachers than what currently exists in Nigeria where teachers are poorly paid while some are not paid at all. At the moment almost eighteen states in the federation especially Kogi and Osun are owing teachers salaries running into several months. This will surely make Liberia to be attractive to teachers than Nigeria.
Also, this will lead to mass movement of Nigerians to Liberia considering the push factors of poor salaries, inconducive work environments, among others and the pull factors of consistent and better salaries and better working benefits in Liberia, will lead to brain drain and emigration from Nigeria.
At the moment the medical profession in Nigeria is suffering from massive brain drain due to the constant movement of Nigerian doctors to other nations of the world to pursue better opportunities for career advancement and the possibility of tenure that foreign hospitals and medical colleges provide. If we aren’t careful, our teachers might be the next profession to follow suit.
Liberia will soon become the proverbial greener pastures for Nigerian teachers; and that would be a little more than ironic.