Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has asked President Bola Tinubu to review the new Students Loan Act and change it to an education grant for indigent students.
Osodeke stated this in an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
According to him, more than 90% of students won’t be able to afford the “stringent requirements” to access and repay the loan.
He stated that “this would have been better if we were giving it to those students who are very poor; it should be called a grant, not a loan.
“It should be called a grant since it is coming from the Federation Account and not that (after) these people have access to 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. That’s why we’re talking about collective bargaining, you have views from all the sides”.
Recall that Chronicle NG had reported that Tinubu signed into law the student loan bill. However, the ASUU president stated that the loan is not “sustainable”.
Osodeke argued that “The idea of student loan came in 1972 and it was in a bank established. People who took loans never paid, you can go and investigate.
“In 1994, and 1993, the military enacted Decree 50 also set up a Students’ Loan Board. The National Assembly domesticated it in 2004 and within a year, it went off. The money disappeared. We want to see how this one will be different”.
The ASUU President stated that the requirements to access the loan are “not practicable”, adding that more than 90% of students won’t meet the “stringent requirements” to access and repay the loan.
He said, “We, as a union also did research of countries all over the world, of people who have benefited from this loan, they were committing suicide. Recently, (President Joe) Biden is trying to pay back the bank loans of some who borrowed in the US,” he said.
“It is better to look for alternative means of funding education than to encumber students whose parents earn N30,000 a month with a loan”.