The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has warned of the National Assembly’s condemnation of the Student Loan Bank being proposed through the Student Loan Bill after previous attempts failed.
A statement issued on Wednesday night by the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, said critical stakeholders in the education sector expressed their support for the repayment of the student loan scheme for tertiary students in Nigeria.
The statement was titled: “Education Summit: Gbajabiamila warns against cynicism on proposed student loan bank…as initiative excites stakeholders.”
He cited the speaker as speaking in Abuja on Wednesday on the second day of the National Tertiary Education Summit organized by his office.
Gbajabiamila stated that the future of the country’s numerous youths should be of concern to everyone considering the state of tertiary education in the country.
According to him, the cynicism against the bill runs counter to providing solutions to the funding challenges facing Nigerian students in public tertiary institutions who will have their dreams and aspirations cut short due to lack of access to tertiary education.
Gbajabiamila was reacting to the assertion by the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, that university lecturers would not accept the student loan bank as proposed by the Student Loan Bill, a previous attempt sponsored by the speaker. he failed
The spokesperson said: “It is time to start thinking outside the box. It is time to start looking at international best practices. Nigeria is not isolated from the rest of the world. We borrow ideas from around the world, just as they can borrow from Nigeria. And then we adapt those ideas in our country. to adapt to the particularities we have.At the end of the day, we get more or less the same result.
“As they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. There are many ways to get to the final destination, and I believe that is the Student Loan Bill. I don’t want us to go from here with a cynical or defeatist approach, that something happened a long time ago, in a completely different type of regime, not in a democratic environment and therefore if it happened many years ago. , then there is a nine out of 10 chance of it happening again. I don’t think about joining that school.
“I think you have learned from the past. If something has failed before, you look at the reasons why it failed, and then you try to improve those reasons to get a better result. That’s the point. That’s what democracy is.”
According to Gbajabiamila, the bill dealt with accountability, transparency and other administrative buttons that could seek to negate the essence of the initiative.
The bill also provides for a two-year moratorium after the end of the National Youth Service Corps, before repayment begins.
According to the spokesperson, as contained in the bill, the beneficiary is also expected to be a warrant officer with at least 12 years of service or a lawyer with at least 10 years of experience.
In addition, the sponsor of the bill said that another provision inserted in it to ensure transparency and accountability was that a loan, once approved, will be given directly to the university and not to the beneficiary in cash, so that it is not used for its purposes. not intended for
The application must be processed within 30 days from the submission of the application to remove the risk, stated Gbajabiamila, and added that the beneficiaries who have been convicted by the judge or those who had established the implementation of the previous loan will not have the right to the loan.
According to the statement, panellists at the summit commended the Speaker’s initiative that would ensure that access to higher education would be available to all children in Nigeria.