N/Assembly Passes Students’ Loan Bill
Nigerian students in higher institutions of learning stand to gain more access to financial assistance as the two chambers of the National Assembly passed the Students Loan Bill sponsored by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
The draft legislation has as its short title, the ‘Students Loan (Access to Higher Education) Bill, 2019,’ While its long title is ‘A Bill for an Act to provide for easy access to higher education for Nigerians through interest-free loans from the Nigerian Education Bank established in this Act with a view to providing education for all Nigerians and for other purposes connected thereto.’
The House had passed the bill earlier this year and forwarded it to the Senate for concurrence. The Red Chamber passed the Bill yesterday, Tuesday.
With the Senate’s concurrence on the Bill, a clean copy will be produced and transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent. Once it is signed into law, Nigerian students could begin accessing the loans.
The Bill seeks the establishment of the Nigerian Education Bank, which shall have powers to supervise, coordinate, administer, and monitor the management of student loans in Nigeria and receive applications for students loan through higher institutions in Nigeria on behalf of the applicants, screen the applications to ensure that all requirements for the grant of students’ loan under the Act are satisfied.
The bank shall also have the powers to approve and disburse the loan to qualified applicants; control and monitor and coordinate the students’ loan account/fund and ensure compliance in respect of disbursement; monitor academic records of grantees of the loan to obtain information on their year of graduation, national service, employment to ensure that grantees of the loan commence repayment of the loan as at when due, among other functions.
The Bill provides that notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in other enactments, all students seeking higher education in any public institution of higher learning in Nigeria shall have an equal right to access the loan under this Act without any discrimination arising from gender, religion, tribe, position or disability of any kind.
“The loan referred to in this Act shall be granted to students only for the payment of Tuition fees. The grant of the loan to any student under this Act shall be subject to the students/applicant(s) satisfying the requirements and conditions set out under this Act.”
Gbajabiamila had argued in the Bill that the hardship being faced by the unemployed and low-income earners coupled with the very high cost of living in Nigeria over the years has made access to quality higher education difficult, stressful and in some cases impossible.
He also noted that a well-educated citizenry is critical to our National development and our Nation’s ability to compete in the Global Economy, arguing that higher education should be regarded as a public good benefiting the entire country rather than a commodity solely benefiting the individual recipients.
“In tandem with the Federal government’s interest and quest in ensuring access to higher education, the National Assembly has agreed to prescribe a legislation that will guarantee access to quality higher education by qualified Nigerians,” he said during the debate on the Bill
FG Approves N24.2bn For Free Internet At Airports, Schools, Markets
THE Federal Government has approved free internet services worth N24.2 billion naira at 20 selected airports, 43 universities and six markets across the country.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami, disclosed this after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday
Pantami said that the airports were selected from the six geo-political zones.
“Certain intervention projects are going to be implemented by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigerian Communications Commission of providing Internet in 20 selected airports in Nigeria and higher institutions of learning and also some markets to support micro small and medium enterprises.
“In each geopolitical zone, you have around three airports. In the South-West, we have Lagos and Ondo. For the South-East, we have Anambra and Enugu.
“For the South-South, we have Port Harcourt and Akwa Ibom. For the North-Central we have Abuja and Ilorin. In the North-West, we have Kano, Sokoto and Kebbi. For the North-East we have Yola, Maiduguri and Gombe.”
The minister said the markets and 43 institutions which include universities and polytechnics were also drawn from the six geopolitical zones, adding that it will ease e-learning in schools and also enhance the transition to a cashless economy.
Buhari Approves Appointment Of 6 New Perm Secs
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday approved the appointment of six new permanent secretaries in the Federal Civil Service
The appointments followed after a recent conducted selection process.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF),Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, made this known in a statement by Mohammed Ahmed, Director of Communications of the Office of the HOCSF,
The appointees and their states of origin are Esuabana Asanye (Cross River), Mahmud Kambari (Borno), Richard Pheelangwah (Taraba), Lamuwa Ibrahim (Gombe), Yakubu Kofar-Mata (Kano) and Oloruntola Michael (Ogun).
DSS Confirms Plot To Install Interim Govt
The Department of State Security Service has said that the plot to Instal interim government was real
DSS noted that the plot was “by some key players” to install an interim government and stop Bola Ahmed Tinubu from being inaugurated as president.
A statement on Wednesday, by Peter Afunanya, the public relations officer of the secret police, said: “The Department of State Services (DSS) has identified some key players in the plot for an Interim Government in Nigeria.
“The Service considers the plot, being pursued by these entrenched interests, as not only an aberration but a mischievous way to set aside the constitution and undermine civil rule as well as plunge the country into an avoidable crisis.
“The illegality is totally unacceptable in a democracy and to the peace loving Nigerians. This is even more so that the machination is taking place after the peaceful conduct of the elections in most parts of the country.”
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