Paschal Emeka, Abuja
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has cautioned opponents of the proposed Student Loan Bank.
Its establishment is contained in the Student Loan Bill passed by the Senate on Tuesday after previous attempts failed.
The bill was sponsored by the Speaker, who represents Surulere 1 federal constituency.
The legislation, which seeks to provide loans to learners in tertiary institutions, was passed by the Green Chamber in 2019.
On Day 2 of the National Summit of Tertiary Education summit organized by his office, Gbajabiamila criticized the opposition to the bill.
He said such cynicism was against efforts to proffer solutions to the challenges of funding confronting Nigerian students in public schools.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had indicated they would not support the proposed Student Loan Bank.
But the Speaker said how to make the bill a success when signed into law should be the focus of all well-meaning Nigerians.
The Speaker stressed that it was time to start thinking outside the box and deploying international best practices.
“Nigeria is not isolated. We borrow ideas from the rest of the world, just like they can borrow from Nigeria as well.
“As they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat… I believe this is what the Student Loan Bill is about.
“I don’t want us to go away with a cynical or defeatist attitude.
“If something failed before, you look at the reasons so that you get a better result. That’s what democracy is all about.”
The bill addresses accountability, transparency, and other administrative bottlenecks that might affect its essence.
It provides for a moratorium two years after completion of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) before repayment commences.
The beneficiary must have a civil servant as a guarantor, with at least 12 years in service, or a lawyer with at least 10 years of experience.