Nigerian Govt Should Convert N50bn Student Loan To Grants – ASUU President

Nigerian Govt Should Convert N50bn Student Loan To Grants – ASUU President

5 months ago
1 min read

President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, has again kicked against the Student Loan scheme of Nigeria’s Federal Government and called for conversion of the N50 billion naira mapped out for it in the 2024 budget into grants for indigent students.

Osodeke expressed concerns that given the state of Nigeria’s economy and level of unemployment, it may be difficult for the students to repay.

The ASUU president who observed that the N50 billion proposed for the scheme in the 2024 budget would not reach a good number of students, advised that it would be better for it to be given as grants to “children of the very poor.”

According to him, giving the money as grants would be more impactful as loans would be difficult to repay.

“If the issue is just N50 billion, why can’t we convert that N50 billion as a country like Nigeria to grants for the children of the very poor?

“Let’s give to those who cannot afford it, not give them as a loan that becomes a liability for them before they even graduate and are not sure of getting a job,” Osodeke advocated while appearing on Channels Television.

“We are thinking of the Nigerian people, those who cannot afford it, those children who are in the villages whose parents earn less than N30,000 a month.

If it is just about 50 billion, the Nigerian government should give that 50 billion as grants to the students rather than giving it as a loan that will encumbrance them in the future and could make them start going to crime, to pay for this loan,” he said.

Osodeke dismissed hopes that the scheme would be successful, adding that many students from poor backgrounds may not be able to meet the conditions for accessing the loan.

READ ALSO: Nigerians Reject Requirements For Accessing Student Loan

He said: “How many people will 50 billion go to as a loan?”

“Look at the conditionality, which level 12 officer will sign for the children of the poor in the village to get access to the loan? How much was budgeted this year? — 50 billion…how many people will 50 billion go to as a loan?” he queried.

“In such a country where you easily have access to a job after graduation cannot pay it back and they are suffering, or people committing suicide. Is it in Nigeria where the children are sure that even in 10 years, you might not get the employment that they can pay back the loan?” he said.

Recall that on June 12, President Bola Tinubu assented to the Student Loan bill. The programme is to provide impoverished Nigerians with easy access to higher education through interest-free loans under the Nigerian Education Loan Fund.

In October, the president announced that the scheme would begin in January 2024 and that N50 billion would be allocated in the 2024 budget by the Federal Government to fund it.


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