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Latest news on FG student loan approval, disbursement today 20th May 2024

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Former Minister of Sports and Special Duties, Taoheed Adedoja; Women Arise founder, Joe Okey-Odumakin; and Professor of Public Relations at Ahmadu Bello University’s Department of Mass Communication, Cosmos Eze, have urged the Federal Government to prioritize monitoring the disbursement of student loans.

On June 12, 2023, President Bola Tinubu signed the Access to Higher Education Act, 2023, enabling financially disadvantaged students to obtain interest-free loans for their education at any Nigerian tertiary institution.

On April 3, 2024, President Tinubu enacted the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024, following separate reviews by the Senate and the House of Representatives’ Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund’s report.

Under this new law, qualified students lacking financial resources can apply for sufficient funding to study at government-owned tertiary institutions.

Recently, President Tinubu appointed renowned banker Jim Ovia as Chairman of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, ahead of the scheme’s launch on May 24.

In an interview with Sunday PUNCH, Adedoja praised the Federal Government for the initiative and emphasized the need for monitoring the programme once it begins.

He said, “For any new initiative, we need to give it a chance to succeed. Adequate monitoring by an independent body is necessary to ensure objectivity and to make adjustments in areas needing re-strategizing for successful operations.”

Adedoja, a Professor of Special Education and former Dean of Education at Bayero University, Kano, also expressed confidence in the Ovia-led board’s capability to perform well.

“The board approved by Mr. President already has a workable template for implementation. I don’t foresee any problems, and I believe that once disbursements commence, any challenges will be appropriately addressed,” he added.

Joe Okey-Odumakin, pro-democracy campaigner and founder of Women Arise, described the initiative as noble but warned the Tinubu-led government against allowing the scheme to be manipulated for political purposes.

She said, “The student loan initiative must be free from politicization or manipulation that could undermine the integrity of the funds and shortchange the intended beneficiaries, who are indigent students in our tertiary institutions.”

She continued, “Implementing the programme without hitches requires transparency and accountability from the fund administrators and the students who will benefit.”

In an interview with Sunday PUNCH, Professor Eze expressed concern that politicians might hijack the scheme.