BusinessDay

Gbajabiamila advocates students’ interest-free loans, others

Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, has called for interest-free loans for students in tertiary institutions in Nigeria to bridge the gap.

Gbajabiamila made the call while delivering his lecture, titled ‘Building back better: Creating a new framework for tertiary education in Nigeria in the 21 century,’ at the 52nd convocation lecture at the University of Lagos, Akoka.

In assessing the conditions of tertiary education in Nigeria, he suggested the specific actions that are needed to bridge the gap in tertiary education so as to compete favourably in the 21st century.

The speaker said on how to finance tertiary education in Nigeria that he had sponsored a bill at the National Assembly which would provide interest-free loans to students.

“Presently before the National Assembly is a bill, the student’s loan (Acess To Higher Education) bill, which I sponsored and which sets out to provide interest-free loans to students. The repayment of these loans shall commence two years after completion of the National Youth Service,” he said.

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The lawmaker representing Surulere I constituency of Lagos State who was invited to speak at his alma mater also called on tertiary education to promote entrepreneurship and vocational skills in all courses.

“In the new world order, there will always be more businesses to establish than jobs to be found. Our educational focus should better prepare our citizens to be entrepreneurs, instead of being job seekers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gbajabiamila made a clarion call for an increase in the minimum educational qualification for persons aspiring to be future presidents of Nigeria and other top offices.

Stressing that since the age for eligibility to contest those offices had been reduced, it was necessary for the minimum educational requirement to be increased.

He reiterated that it would be another step in reforming the electoral system and providing strong leadership for the country.

“I also sincerely believe that the National Assembly needs to look into section 131(D) of the 1999 constitution with a view to increasing the minimum educational qualification for persons aspiring to be future presidents of Nigeria and other top offices including the National Assembly as against the current minimum requirement of a secondary School Certificate or its equivalent,” Gbajabiamila said.

Dignitaries at the event were Amina Adamu, Justice of the Supreme Court who was the chairman of the convocation lecture, Lanre Tejuoso, the pro-chancellor of the University of Lagos, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, the vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos, among others.