The management of the Nigerian Edu­ca­tion Loan Fund (NELFUND) has clarified  reasons stu­dents of the National Open Uni­versity of Nigeria (NOUN) were not eli­gible for the loan facil­ity put in place by the administration of the  Pres­id­ent  and Commander-in-Chief, Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.

The Man­aging Dir­ector/Chief Exec­ut­ive Officer of the Fund, Mr. Akin­tunde Saw­yerr, who stated this while addressing newsmen in Abuja explained that it was due to their inab­il­ity to pos­sess the Joint Admis­sions and Matric­u­la­tion Board (JAMB) Num­ber- one of the major require­ments.

This clarification mean that although NOUN was lis­ted as the 29th school among the 126 fed­eral higher insti­tu­tions to bene­fit from the scheme on the NELFUND web­site, they, however, would not be among the 1.2mil­lion bene­fi­ciar­ies in the first phase of the project.

The MD also revealed that 60,000 stu­dents had registered for the facil­ity in one week, out of which 30,000, rep­res­ent­ing 50 per cent of the fig­ure, suc­cess­fully applied.

He said the agency had strict cri­teria and guidelines, and would not bend the rules for any insti­tu­tion or indi­vidual, no mat­ter how highly placed.

Accord­ing to him, the Fund would ensure due dili­gence, “pro­tect tax-­pay­ers’ money and safe­guard the scheme from frivol­ously hand­ing out money without account­ab­il­ity

Mr. Saw­yerr said: “We have strict cri­teria and guidelines around how people can access this loan oppor­tun­ity.

All of them are non-nego­ti­able. JAMB (num­ber) is non-nego­ti­able using this applic­a­tion pro­cess.

Unfor­tu­nately, if an applic­ant hasn’t got a JAMB num­ber, and hasn’t gone through the JAMB applic­a­tion pro­cess, it is going to be impossible to grant that indi­vidual a loan at this stage.

It would be recalled that the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government had set up the loan fund to support indigent Nigerians in their higher education pursuit, while they pay back in instalments, two years, after completing their National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) programme.

The disbursed loan would be paid directly to the institutions where the applicant’s admission was domiciled to avoid diversion, while repayment of 10 per cent of the loan would also be done by the employer of any beneficiary at source.

The repayment was made as flexible as possible as the Fund was not willing to criminalise beneficiaries who defaulted.

Meanwhile, the expected sources of NELF funding include; one per cent of all profits accruing to them Federal Government from oil and other minerals, one per cent of taxes, levies and duties accruing from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Custom Service (NCS), Education Bonds and Education Endowment Fund schemes.