Beneficiaries of student loans in other countries committing suicide over debts – ASUU
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) beneficiaries of student loan initiatives in other countries were committing suicide over their inability to repay debts.
The ASUU National President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke stated this while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
He said, “This would have been better if we are giving it to those set of very poor students, it should be called a grant, not a loan.
“It should be called a grant since it is coming from the Federation Account and not that (after) these people have accessed it and when they are graduating, they have heavy loads behind them and within two years, if they don’t pay, they go to jail.”
Osodeke, therefore, asked President Bola Tinubu to change the newly assented Students Loans Act to grants for poor students.
The Student Loan law provides interest-free loans to poor Nigerian students.
The loan repayment starts two years after the beneficiary completes the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.
However, the ASUU President said the policy is not sustainable.
He said, “The idea of student loans came in 1972 and it was in a bank established. People who took loans never paid.
“In 1994, 1993, the military enacted Decree 50 also set up a Students’ Loan Board. The National Assembly domesticated it in 2004 and within a year, it went off. The money disappeared. We want to see how this one will be different,” he added.
ASUU President also said the conditions for the loan are not practicable.
He said more than 90% of students won’t meet the requirements to access the loan.
Osodeke said, “We, as a union also did research of countries all over the world, of people who have benefited from this loan, they were committing suicide.
“Recently, (President Joe) Biden is trying to pay back the bank loans of some who borrowed in the US,” he added.
The ASUU president asked President to take another look at the new law, calling for a probe of the activities of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).