While President Tinubu hailed the law as a realization of his campaign promise, Osodeke argued that it could potentially hinder the educational aspirations of numerous students. He emphasized that many prospective students rely on tuition-free higher institutions to pursue knowledge, especially considering that over 133 million people in Nigeria are living below the poverty line.
He said, “A country where more than 133 million are living below the poverty line and you want to introduce tuition fees? It will be counterproductive.
“Every Nigerian should know what is going to happen next and there may likely be another bill waiting for signature that will introduce tuition fees.
“If the bill indicated that the loan is to pay tuition fees and there are no tuition fees in Nigerian universities, then what is your next approach?”
The ASUU President highlighted that this is not a new issue, mentioning that the union had previously rejected a similar proposal during former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He also noted that the union has not yet obtained an accurate copy of the law signed by President Tinubu and stressed the importance of studying it thoroughly.
“We have said long ago, in 2017, to President Buhari when they came up with the issue of tuition fees, that every student will pay N1 million and we said you cannot put that in our agreement and you cannot use that to negotiate with us and with the nature of the country we have today, there is no way that will work.”
“What will happen is that the majority of students whose parents cannot afford it will pull out of school in anger and you know what that means, they will fight the society back. But let us get the correct information first before knowing the next steps,” Osodeke explained.
He further cautioned that if students whose parents cannot afford the fees are forced to drop out of school, it may lead to social unrest.
The Federal Ministry of Education has yet to address the implications of the new Student Loan Act. However, the ministry is expected to hold a press conference to provide clarity on all matters concerning the loan act.