Chief of Staff Gbajabiamila on Student Loan

The Federal Government of Nigeria, last week Wednesday assured Nigerians that no indigent students would be denied the government education student loan scheme billed to be launched in the upcoming weeks.

The Presidency also said that the Government was making frantic efforts to avert the planned strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASSU). Chief of Staff to the President, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed these when he received in his office, at the state House, a delegation of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), led by its President, Comrade Lucky Emonefe.

Hon. Gbajabiamila called on Nigerian students to speak up against voices condemning the Students’ Loan Funds policies, saying the scheme was to ensure that no student, irrespective of their birth circumstances, was deprived of quality education  in Nigeria. The Chief of Staff further assured the students that the government was ready to avert any looming industrial action by members of ASUU, explaining that government was currently addressing issues that concerned the union. He added that President Tinubu, GCFR, had, through several directives, declared an end to the strike by the academic unions in universities and higher institutions. According to him, “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.

The Chief of Staff affirmed the determination of President Bola Tinubu towards the successful take-off of the scheme, adding 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. It 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 cross 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, would become part of the legacies of the present administration.

Hon. Gbajabiamila solicited the support of Nigerians to ensure that no indigent student, who was genuinely in need of the loan, was 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 students, 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”, he said.

The Chief of Staff also applauded youth representation on the Federal Executive Council, saying the Government was 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 muling 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 geared towards youth development. We are hopeful that will come to fruition soon.” He concluded.

Earlier in his address, the NAN President,  Comrade Lucky Emonefe, commended President Tinubu for the up-scale of the Education budget, students’ loan scheme and other giant strides and achievements in the education sector, especially the tertiary education sub-sector.

He called on the Federal Government to put extra efforts to avert the strike actions intended by the ASUU by addressing their demands as well as those of other university-based unions.