Student Loans: ASUU Alleges Politicians Diverting Funds to Private Universities

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has alleged that student loans are being used as a ploy to divert public funds into private universities owned by politically exposed individuals and their associates.

In a statement signed by the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, on Thursday, the union reiterated its rejection of the Students Loan Scheme, promoted by international money lending agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

According to Osodeke, the scheme is designed to starve public universities of funding and channel public funds into private universities owned by politically connected individuals.

He stated, “NEC further observed that the students’ loan scheme will mortgage the entire university system and keep our promising students in perpetual indebtedness.

“If the scheme could fail in some better-managed economies, there is no guarantee that it will succeed in Nigeria where unbridled corruption, nepotism, and other unsavory tendencies conspired to kill the Education Bank project after over five years of its existence.”.

ASUU suggested that instead of the student loan scheme, the state and federal governments should provide grants and scholarships to students. They also advocated for the restoration of the Needs-Based Budgeting System in universities for greater efficiency.

Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke condemned recent fee hikes in schools and called for the funds diverted from government treasuries to be used to fund universities.

It read, “NEC condemns in its entirety the wave of fee hike without inputs of the victims across our campuses.

“Daily scandalous reports of stupendous funds diverted from government treasuries at state and Federal levels reinforce our belief that resources available to the country could support government-funded university education –without excessive pressures on parents as currently done.”.

The union believes that if the government had fulfilled the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2013, which provided for N1.3 trillion ($3.1 billion) over six years, many universities would have been able to attract foreign students and conduct cutting-edge research.

ASUU challenged the government to conduct another needs assessment exercise to verify their call for massive intervention in public universities. They argue that a similar needs assessment exercise in 2012 led to the allocation of N1.3 trillion, but the government has since reneged on its commitment.

The statement by ASUU highlights the concerns of the union regarding the student loan scheme and the state of funding for public universities in Nigeria. They believe that the scheme is serving the interests of private universities rather than supporting the public education system.

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