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Student Loan Scheme: Include private universities’ students – Obasanjo

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for the inclusion of students in private universities as beneficiaries in the Student Loan Scheme being floated by the federal government.

He made the call during the inauguration of the Asiwaju Onafowokan, Coleman Wires and Cables building at Bells University’s College of Postgraduate Studies in Ota, Ogun State.

“The Vice Chancellor has spoken about the need to include students in private universities as beneficiaries of the Student Loan Scheme. I urge the government to listen to that and take heed to include them too. I doubt if the scheme will be run without corruption, that is another matter entirely, ” he said.

Obasanjo, the proprietor of Bell University of Technology, opined that the loan scheme was crucial to the development of the society and the welfare of the citizens and that excluding a group of people would be counter-productive.

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Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of Bell University of Technology, Prof. Jeremiah Ojediran, had pleaded for the inclusion of private universities’ students in the scheme.

“That is how they excluded students in private universities from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and the recent decision to exclude them from the student’s loan scheme is unfair. These decisions were out of touch with the current realities of the society and the expectations of the people.

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“Many parents struggle to keep their children enrolled in schools, whether public or private, due to the economic downturn in the country,” he said.

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Recall that the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, NELFUND, Mr Akintunde Sawyerr, had last week told media men that students in private institutions would not benefit from the loan scheme, at least for now.

His argument was that it was a programme for social re-engineering and redistribution of wealth meant to assist the poor in the society.

According to Sawyerr, though parents of students in private institutions are also tax payers from which fund for the scheme is sourced, they should not be seen as being in the same financial conditions as many parents of students in public schools.

Also, fees paid in private schools are quite higher than what obtains in public ones, he said.

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