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President Bola Tinubu has signed the National Student Loan Re-enactment bill into law.

ADULAWO News reports that President signed the bill in a short ceremony at the State House on Wednesday in the presence of the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Others were the Minister of Arts and Culture, Hannatu Musawa; the Minister of State for Youth, Ayodele Olawande, the president of the National Association of Nigerian Students, and other government officials and aides to the president.
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Tinubu initially signed the student loan bill into law back in June 2023, to offer financial assistance to Nigerian students in tertiary institutions.

While the bill was signed earlier, its implementation has faced delays due to various issues hindering its rollout.

Speaking afterwards, the president said, “ First of all, I must thank members of the National Assembly for their expeditious handling of this bill considering the children of Nigeria, that education is the tool to fight against poverty effectively.

“We are determined to ensure that education is given the proper attention necessary for the country including skills development programmes. This is to ensure that no one, no matter how poor their background is, is excluded from quality education and opportunity to build their future.
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“We are here because we are all educated and were helped. In the past, we have seen a lot of our children drop out of college and give up the opportunity. That is no more, the standard and the control is there for you to apply no matter who you are as long as you are a Nigerian citizen.”

The new legislation repeals the previous Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act of 2023 and re-enacts the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Bill from 2004.

The executive bill establishes the Nigerian Education Loan Fund as a corporate body tasked with receiving, managing and investing funds to provide loans to Nigerians pursuing higher education, vocational training and skills acquisition programs.

Recall that on June 12, 2023, President Tinubu signed the Access to Higher Education Act, 2023, into law to enable indigent students to access interest-free loans for their educational pursuits in any public Nigerian tertiary institution.
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President Tinubu, in his Renewed Hope manifesto, clearly stated that his administration will institute a student loan program following a similar model established by the Kaduna State government in 2018.

In fulfilment of that promise, a few days after the assumption of office, President Tinubu signed the Students Loan bill sponsored by then-House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila into law.

The Access to Higher Education Act provided for the establishment of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) to be domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria and administered through an 11-man Special Steering Committee chaired by the CBN Governor.

This special committee comprising representatives from FIRS, Federal Ministry of Education, NUC, and other critical stakeholders has been constituted since last year and held their inaugural meeting on February 19, 2023.

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