President Bola Tinubu has warned the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, that factionalism would deter them from attaining progress.
The President gave the warning in Abuja during a meeting with a delegation of NANS, which submitted a list of complaints about the Student Loans Act.
He expressed delight that except for the concerns raised, they were satisfied with the general objective of the Act, emphasising that it is a sure way to achieving zero-illiteracy level.
“If we all believe that education is the greatest weapon against poverty, then we have invest in it, and that poverty should not prevent any child, including the daughter or son of a wood seller, or yam seller from attaining high standard of education to eliminate poverty. If you eliminate poverty in one family, you can carry the rest”, the President emphasised.
On the concerns raised by NANS, the President said their complaints would not be difficult to address if they were united.
“The students need to be represented, but you’re not cohesive too, you fractionise, so once one faction is on the board, another faction will stir the air, so you have to promote unity and stability among each other. You have employ democratic means honestly and seriously”, President Tinubu advised.
NANS had demanded an amendment to the Students’ Loans Act to exclude non-student associations from the Loans Board and replace them with student related ones.
Led by its President, Mallam Usman Baranbu, to the meeting, NANS said they were surprised that the Act did not include students’ representation in the disbursement of loans.
Mallam Baranbu said they complained to the President about the rigidity of the period of repayment of the laon, which begins 2 years after the completion of the National Youth Service Corps.
“We equally said something to them that those that don’t have job, how are they going to repay the loan, and they said there were some modalities they were putting in place, which we’re going to further the engagement with Chief of Staff, as the President advised: if we have anything we should discuss it quickly with the Chief of Staff if he is not available”, Mallam Baranbu explained.
The students appealed to President Tinubu to direct tertiary institutions to include Students Union Government in decisions concerning tuition, arguing that such stop arbitrariness in the increment.