ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, expressed concerns that the recently signed Student Loan Bill by President Bola Tinubu has the capacity to force numerous students out of school. Osodeke made these remarks during a media interaction on Wednesday. It is worth noting that the President endorsed the bill on Monday, considering it a fulfillment of one of his campaign pledges. However, according to Osodeke, the legislation could negatively impact millions of aspiring students who depend on tuition-free higher education institutions for their learning needs.
He said, “A country where more than 133 million are living below the poverty line and you want to introduce tuition fees? It will be counterproductive.
“Every Nigerian should know what is going to happen next and there may likely be another bill waiting for signature that will introduce tuition fees.
“If the bill indicated that the loan is to pay tuition fees and there are no tuition fees in Nigerian universities, then what is your next approach?”
Osodeke disclosed that the bill is not a new development, highlighting the fact that the union previously opposed it during the tenure of former President Muhammadu Buhari. Nevertheless, he mentioned that the union has not yet obtained the precise version of the law enacted by Tinubu and emphasized the importance of acquiring and examining it thoroughly.
“We have said long ago, in 2017, to President Buhari when they came up with the issue of tuition fees, that every student will pay N1 million and we said you cannot put that in our agreement and you cannot use that to negotiate with us and with the nature of the country we have today, there is no way that will work.”
“What will happen is that the majority of students whose parents cannot afford it will pull out of school in anger and you know what that means, they will fight the society back. But let us get the correct information first before knowing the next steps,” he added.