Students Loan Bill: NANS Leadership Visit Tinubu, back Fuel Subsidy Removal, Wants Inclusion In Students Bill Committee

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President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday received in audience members of the National Association of Nigerian Students, led by the President, Usman Umar Barambu at the state house.

The visit comes less than 24 hours after the President signed into Law the student loans Bill into an Act, that will provide easy access to higher education for indigent Nigerians through interest-free loans from the Nigerian Education Loan Fund.

The president during the visit said; “Poverty should not prevent anybody, any child, including the daughter or son of a wood seller, ‘Bole’ (plantain) seller or yam seller from attaining their highest standard of education. If we all believe that education is the greatest weapon against poverty, then we have to invest in it. If you eliminate poverty from one family, you can carry the rest of the weight.”

Therefore, he pledged that his administration would commit more resources to the education sector to ensure that every Nigerian child, regardless of their background, has access to quality education.

President Tinubu, who promised to consider the requests of the NANS leaders, urged the student body to ensure unity among its members across the country to achieve more.

“You have to promote unity and stability among each other. You have to employ democratic means in your programmes and elections. I have to say, anyone who is unable to accept and celebrate a free and fair election, does not deserve the joy of victory,” he advised.

He thanked the students for supporting the removal of subsidy on petrol, explaining the reasons behind the decision and the need to curb smuggling.

”I’m glad you understand the reason for the subsidy removal. We were at a point where Nigeria tried to draw water from a dry well and that is no longer acceptable and we equally must not continue to service the smugglers because they used to take our tankers and Premium Motor Spirit across the borders. We will put our money where our mouth is,” he said.

The leader of the delegation, Umar Barambu, said the purpose of the students’ leaders visit was to thank the president for the signing into law of the Student Loan Bill, which will provide loans to indigent students such that no Nigerian student in tertiary institutions will drop out of school over inability to pay school fees.

The Bill, sponsored by former House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, was signed into law by President Tinubu on Monday, June 12, which is Democracy Day.

Barambu said “We are here to congratulate you and to thank you for what you have been doing to the country since you assumed responsibility as the President. We want to equally thank you for the Students Loan Bill.”

Speaking to State House Correspondents after engagements with the President, Barambu revealed that they urged him to review the constitution of the special committee that will oversee the new Nigerian Education Loan Fund to include student representatives.

He said the students want the inclusion of its past national leaders and the exclusion of lecturers and lawyers from the loans board as provided in the Students Loan Act.

Speaking on the contentious clause of the Act, the NANS President said: “We have outlined the clauses that we are not too comfortable with. And part of them is the issue of that board that we mentioned to the President, which we said at least students’ representatives should be captured and there are some organisation that they put there, which to us, they don’t need to be there.

“We gave him an example, most especially the Nigerian Bar Association, ASUU. ASUU have their own microfinance bank running their own affairs without students on their board. So I don’t think it’s wise for us to allow them to be inside our own board because it is purely students.

“We are the major stakeholders of that bank. So I don’t think allowing them to be there is good. Not only them, but we also mentioned a lot of people that they should remove and put more of student-oriented organisation.”