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ASUU Appeals to President Tinubu: Transform Student Loans Act into Grant System

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ABUJA, Nigeria – The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, is urging President Bola Tinubu to modify the recently signed Students Loans Act, advocating for a grant system instead for indigent students.

The appeal comes after the President signed into law the Students Loans Bill, promising to provide interest-free loans to underprivileged Nigerian students.

This action fulfilled a pledge made during Tinubu’s campaign.

ALSO READ: President Tinubu Signs 2023 Student Loan Act into Law

In an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics programme on Sunday, June 18, 2023, ASUU National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, expressed concerns about the loan system.

He suggested that funds for needy students should be labeled as grants rather than loans, highlighting the burden that repayments would place on graduates.

“This would have been better if we are giving it to those set of students who are very poor, it should be called a grant, not a loan,” said Osodeke.

“It should be called a grant since it is coming from the Federation Account and not that (after) these people have access it and when they are graduating, they have heavy loads behind them and within two years, if they don’t pay, they go to jail.”

Drawing from historical precedents, Osodeke indicated that student loan initiatives in Nigeria had been unsuccessful in the past due to non-repayment and lack of sustainability.

“The idea of student loan came in 1972, and it was in a bank established. People who took loans never paid… We want to see how this one will be different,” the ASUU President asserted.

Osodeke further criticized the loan system, suggesting that more than 90% of students won’t meet the “stringent requirements” to access and repay the loan.

He urged the government to seek alternative means of funding education that wouldn’t burden students from low-income families.

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