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ASUU, ASUP Express Uncertainty Regarding Student Loan

In Abuja on Monday, President Bola Tinubu signed the Student Loan Bill into law, as stated by Dele Alake, a member of the Presidential Strategic Team, during a briefing with State House Correspondents.

This act fulfills one of Tinubu’s campaign promises to make education funding more accessible. It is the second legislation signed by Tinubu since assuming office two weeks ago. The bill aims to provide interest-free loans to underprivileged students.

Waffi TV reported that the bill, sponsored by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila of the 9th House of Representatives, passed its final reading on May 25, 2023. Alake, along with Tunde Rahman, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, and David Adejoh, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, emphasized that the new law requires prospective beneficiaries to demonstrate their backgrounds through proof of origin.

“We’re very happy to announce to you that today the President, His Excellency, Bola Tinubu, signed into law the Student Loans Bill.

“This is a promise made during the presidential campaign by the then candidate, His Excellency Bola Tinubu, that he will bring back the student loans issue onto the front burner.

“And today, that promise he made has been kept. He has just signed that bill into law, which henceforth would allow or enable our indigent students to access Federal Government’s loans to fund the educational pursuit or career,” Alake said.

“This is how it’s done in other developed climes. So this is a boost to our youths and students nationwide.

“Of course, there are prescribed qualification parameters. And that is the proof of indigenship of whoever is to be a beneficiary.

“Of course, there are committees to be set up. The members of committees will be drawn from various bodies to superintend over the efficient and proficient disbursement of this facility,” he added.

Furthermore, it was stated that while the bill becomes effective immediately, the application procedures will be developed by the committees overseeing the process.

In response, the Academic Staff Union of Universities characterized the loan bill as creating a distinction between children from wealthy backgrounds and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

National President, ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “The union will react soon but everyone knows our position on student loans because you will end up encumbering the children of the poor with loans and debt after graduating. This is discriminatory. If what I read online is correct, it said it is only for children whose parents earn at least N500,000 per annum. That means if your father earns more, you won’t benefit.”

Similarly, the National President, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Mr Anderson Ezeibe, said, “I have not studied the bill and we don’t want to react on the surface. But I have seen one area that will not be practicable.

“It says that students should refund the money two years after NYSC. But what is the provision for someone who is not working after NYSC?  And will they all get jobs immediately after NYSC?”

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