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Nigerians call out FG as student loan drags

Nigerians call out FG as student loan drags

A section of students and parents have expressed their disappointment at the Federal Government over its inability to commence the disbursement of the much-touted student education loan in January as earlier promised.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had in October 2023 during the Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja announced that the government would commence the disbursement of the loan to Nigerian students by January 2024.

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“You have my commitment that my government will act on all its promises and the summit report when it is received. Be ready to challenge me after you have crafted those recommendations,” he said.

The government had maintained earlier that all was set for the loan to be accessible by students in January 2024; however, nothing has been heard of it. Students and parents remain anxious about the development, though a top official from the ministry of education has called for calm.

Euriel Momah, an educationist said it was sad to say that this appears to be a common trend with a lot of promises and policies being doled out by the government.

“Recall that the previous administration pledged to pay students studying education in federal universities a certain allowance as a way of boosting and encouraging the teaching profession but up till this moment, that is yet to be fulfilled.

“I am sure you still recall the promise of feeding school pupils and what has equally happened to that. It is either that the government does not have the willpower and commitment to implement these policies or that they do not mean them in the first place,” he said.

He spoke further: “Now, coming to the student loan of the present administration, nothing can be more welcoming, especially as we consider the cost of learning today.

This policy, when implemented, will bring a huge relief to Nigerian students in various tertiary institutions who are struggling to keep themselves in school.

It will encourage them to become more focused and improve their performance. Many of the illicit activities and crimes that some of them indulge in will either be eradicated or become drastically reduced.”

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However, Momah reiterated his belief that the Federal Government will keep to its promise as it concerns the student loan scheme.

“I still want to believe and hope that this present administration will keep their word on this. Let’s hope that they are probably trying to fine-tune the implementation strategy of the policy,” he said.

Friday Erhabor, the director of media and strategies at Marklenez Limited, also believed the government would keep to its promise.

“I want to believe that the government is still taking input from stakeholders. You know there were a lot of suggestions on the modalities for the loan. So I want to believe they are weighing all the suggestions and criticism to fine-tune the conditions and execution details,” he noted.

Adebayo Olatunde, a student said it was not in the government’s interest to allow this scheme to fail.

“I think it’s not in the government’s best interest to make a promise to a vital part of the country’s populace and not fulfil it.

“It didn’t take school managements a lot of time before they increased tuition fees across the country; the government also should implement the loan initiative as soon as possible so that young people can pay their fees in this terrible economy,” he said.

Olatunde warned that if the government reneged on its promise to the youth, it would only solidify the perception that the government cannot be trusted and that is not the perception any government wants from its youth.

The student loan scheme is expected to serve as a new chapter in the quest for indigent students to access education but is now faced with delays, leaving aspiring students and their families uncertain after it failed to meet the January deadline.

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Yusuf Sununu, minister of state for education had earlier said the January 2024 date for the take-off of the student loan was still in place.

In addition, Sunubu said that a website had been working for interested Nigerian university students with the requisite criteria.

However, recent development shows that neither the website nor a new update has been provided since the minister made the statement.