The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has described the student loans set up by the President Bola Tinubu-led Nigerian government as a plot to enrich the few private university owners in the country.
The National President of ASUU, Emmanuel Osodeke, said this on Saturday while speaking to journalists in Bauchi State on the sidelines of the award of scholarship to undergraduate students in Bauchi Zone of the union held at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Yelwa Campus.
Osodeke who was represented by his deputy, Christopher Piwuna, said that if the government was sincere in its intentions, the proposed student loan should be made a grant instead of a loan.
The ASUU boss said, “Right from the start, we believe that the Nigerian state is capable of funding education in Nigeria. All these issues that have led to the introduction of the loan, the issues of charges in our universities, are as a result of poor funding. So, this particular effort by the government is supposed to meet that funding gap in the universities.
“We believe that with discipline, the Nigerian state can fund education adequately. From recent happenings in the country, where, for instance, one member of the National Assembly can take just a part of his allowances would include a N160 million, is a clear sign that if the Nigerian state is serious, it can fund education.
“The leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, I think, tried to demonstrate that, when his administration agreed to release N200 billion in 2013 as part of the NEEDS Assessment and till this day, 10 years after the release of that money, we still see what that money is doing in this system.
“Just imagine if the government takes this funding seriously. So, we are against the student loan as a form of funding education, we think the loan will go back into the coffers of private individuals who are in government today who own private universities. If the government is serious, they should make grants to institutions and students.”
Earlier in his speech during the scholarship award presentation to 19 indigent students in Bauchi Zone, Osodeke said, “We just want to show the government that we believe that the resources are available to take care of education.
“Parents are failing in their responsibilities and their responsibility is to join us to ensure that this system is better but you fold your hands to watch us. But we want you to be part of this struggle, tell other parents. We don’t expect anything from you, All we want is for you to join hands with us to ensure that the system is better for the future.”