President Bola Tinubu has signed the student loan bill into law, providing financial assistance to Nigerian students in tertiary institutions.
The bill was signed on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after it had passed the third reading in the lower chamber in May. This signifies a milestone in the education sector of the country.
According to the former Lagos commissioner of information and strategy, Dele Alake, who announced the signing of the bill to state house correspondents, Nigerian students in tertiary institutions are now allowed to access interest-free loans from the Nigerian education loan fund.
The legislation also provides for the establishment of the Nigerian education bank, which is given the power to administer, supervise, coordinate, and monitor the management of student loans in the country. This means that the bank will receive applications for student loans through higher institutions on behalf of the applicants and screen them, in line with the provisions of the legislation.
Sponsored by Femi Gbajabiamila, immediate-past speaker of the house of representatives,the bill has received wide acclaim, with many expressing delight at the passing of the bill.
Reacting to the development, Gbajabiamila noted that , “This is a significant milestone in our efforts to reform the education sector and provide quality and accessible education to Nigerian students in tertiary institutions. The student loan bill will significantly help to address the issue of funding that has been a major challenge for Nigerian students in their pursuit of higher education.”
Similarly, the president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Sunday Asefon, has expressed satisfaction with the signing of the bill, describing it as a “huge victory for Nigerian students.” He said, “We have been advocating for this for a long time, and we are glad that our voices have been heard. The student loan bill will help bridge the gap and ensure that more Nigerian students have access to tertiary education.”