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Student Loan Ploy To Enslave Nigerian Students — ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Calabar Zone has expressed reservations about the Federal Government’s student loan, describing it as a ploy to enslave Nigerian students and make them remain indebted to the country forever.

The Federal Government student loan officially came on stream last Friday when the portal for loan applications opened.

No fewer than 3,764 students from 126 institutions sent in applications on the opening day.

The Federal Government explained that the initiative was to ensure that no Nigerian youth is denied higher education on account of lack of funds.

But addressing a press conference in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital on Monday, the Zonal Chairperson of ASUU, Dr Happiness Uduk, insisted that the student loan was a ploy to enslave Nigerian youths.

Uduk said it was disheartening that the people who attended schools on scholarship, enjoyed meal subsidies, bursary awards, among others, were now implementing loans for students.

The National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, had also repeatedly criticised the student loan, saying the government should rather give students bursaries.

Uduk, in a statement jointly signed by the eight union chairpersons, reasoned that instead of loans, the Federal Government should give subvention to higher institutions.

She argued that such a move would bring about a positive turnaround in the tertiary institutions.

Uduk said, “It is disheartening that people who attended schools on scholarship, enjoyed meal subsidies, free laundry services, and bursary awards are the same running our economy today.

“Their children are on scholarship in the best foreign universities in the world but after siphoning our economy, they turn around to impose a strangulating education loan on taxpayers’ children who will be enslaved and remain indebted to the country forever. They do not mind the devastating effect of this scheme on the country, such as depression, suicide, and colossal loss of intellectuals.

“To this end, we vehemently condemn the idea of education loans and state clearly that using the money for intervention in higher institutions will bring about a positive turnaround of events that will make our institutions self-reliant with highly subsidised tertiary education in Nigeria.”

The ASUU chairperson called on the Federal Government to come to a renegotiation table and reconvene a committee to review the agreement reached by ASUU leadership and Prof. Nimi Brigs-led government committee with a view to adjusting the document according to the current economic realities so as to have acceptable salary structure for university lecturers.

She also condemned the indiscriminate proliferation of universities in Nigeria without adequate funding by both the federal and state governments, noting that the 2020 ASUU-FGN Memorandum of Action, which stressed the need to review the NUC Act to make it more potent in arresting the reckless and excessive establishment of universities, be fully implemented.

“We urge the President Tinubu-led administration to refrain from further proliferation of universities and rather consolidate on the already existing ones. What we need are universities that are adequately equipped and empowered to address the challenges confronting Nigeria not glorified schools,” she said.

On the ongoing minimum wage negotiation, the ASUU Calabar Zone urged the FG to immediately deploy the instrumentality of collective bargaining to conclude the social dialogue, saying such would lessen the invasive decline in the socio-economic lives of Nigerians.

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