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Tinubu: Students’ Loan Scheme  To Become Operational In Two Weeks

Gbajabiamila has charged students to speak up in defence of the scheme.

President Bola Tinubu, has expressed optimism that the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFund), after its expansion to accommodate extra features including vocational studies, will take off within the next two weeks. 

The President who gave this assurance when the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NAN’S) visited him at the State House, Abuja, on Wednesday also assured tertiary institution students that he would intervene in some of the difficulties they face, especially arbitrary hiking of tuition fees. 

NANS President, Comrade Lucky Emonefe, who gave details of the meeting with President Tinubu to newsmen after the meeting, said he led his team to the State House to thank him for coming with various policies and programme aimed at making education accessible to everyone, including the NELFund. 

According to him, the President  explained the delay in the launch of the NELFund saying that in  a matter of two weeks, the programme will take off. 

His words: “On the issue of the student loan, the little delay was the expansion. Mr. President expanded it for inclusion of some vocational training, which is highly commendable. 

“In one or two weeks from now, the launching of the student loan will begin, that is as for the student loan, all steps have been put in place to commence it immediately and Mr. President will launch that. He has equally promised to include students in the process.

“On the issue of the hardship that we’re facing, Mr President didn’t give a specific time, but he said things will turn around soon and students will start feeling it. I think that was the response”.

On what informed his team’s visit and how it went, Omonefe said “we came, first, to thank him for the various educational policies that he has introduced; first is the students loan, he’s a lover of education and education is the bedrock.

“He equally released funds for intervention; UBEC and TETFund, given to students, because that is development of infrastructure. So we came in to thank Mr. President.

“It does not end there, the yearnings and the aspirations of Nigerian students, I came in to table them before Mr. President, including issues of hike in school fees and various other challenges; high cost of living for Nigerian students, what they are passing through. 

“As a father who listens, I came to relate these things to Mr. President and Mr. President is accessible, he listened to us and he promised us he’s going to look into that, that he’s going to include more youths in his government, that we are the future leaders specifically said that he wants the student loan to work so that those who don’t have access to education…, that education is a right. So that is our reason of visiting Mr. President and we know things will turn around for the better, soonest.

“So we’re conveying the message back to our students, that Mr. President will look into the challenges they are facing in various higher institutions and those higher institutions that are increasing school fees will put an end to it. So it is the challenge that Nigerian students are facing, we believe that the school fees hike will be a thing of the past”, the NANS President  said.

Also on Wednesday,  Chief of Staff to the President, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, called on Nigerian students to speak up against voices condemning the Student Loan Funds policies saying the scheme is to ensure no student irrespective of their birth circumstances is deprived of quality education

Gbajabiamila stated this when he received in his office, at the state House the NANS President, Lucky Emonefe and his team.

He solicited the support of Nigerians especially tertiary institution students to ensure that no indigent student, who is genuinely in need of the loan, is left behind.

“Now we are going to need you in the success of this policy because, generally, it is a well-received policy but there may be one or two segments of the society for the reason some people in some quarters may be kicking against it, this policy is for the Nigerian student, it is to make sure that no student is left behind when it comes to education.

“It is to make sure people are not deprived of their education just because of circumstances of their birth that itself is unconstitutional.

“Now that the child of indigent should not be deprived of what should be a right, not to make education a privilege but a right.

“So when voices speak up against it we expect you to rise for support, this is something that you all support, embrace and work towards its success”, the CoS said. 

He affirmed the determination of President Tinubu towards the successful take-off of the scheme adding hinting that the program would be launched within the next few weeks.

According to him, “Mr President is determined that we see it through and see it through successfully that was supposed to be launched in January but it is anything worth doing and it is worth doing well.

“We are hoping it will be launched in the next two to three weeks, we are trying to dot the I(s) and the T(s) before it is launched to ensure we have policies that cannot be faulted.”

He added that the student loan scheme, when successfully launched, will become part of the legacies of the present administration.

The Chief of Staff further assured the students that the government is ready to avert any looming industrial action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), explaining that government is currently addressing issues that concern the union.

He added that President Tinubu had through several directives declared an end to the strike by the academic unions of universities and higher institutions.

“There may be another looming ASUU strike, and we are trying to address that, we are looking at issues that concern ASUU, the impending strike and I believe we should be able to avert that as you have said earlier, we can always do our best to avert strikes such as this, luckily we have a President who is more than anybody determined that the days of strike are over and left behind. We are hoping to be able to avert the strikes”, he added.

Gbajabiamila also applauded youth representation on the Federal Executive Council saying the government is working on the establishment of a Youth Advisory Council that would advise the President on youth matters and other injunctions towards youth development.

“You have among you two comrades standing in for you in the cabinet, We are mauling the idea that has not come to fruition yet I hope it will come to fruition , we are working assiduously on the Youth Advisory council that will sit from time to time and advise the President on youth matters and other matters that are injunction towards youth development, we are hopeful that will come to fruition soon”

Deji Elumoye in Abuja 

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