Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila
–Soremekun Seyifunmi, Ayomide Abina, Oluwakemi Emmanuel and Deborah Gbadebo.
House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, noted yesterday in Lagos that a bill is in the works to give students an interest free loan to pursue and actualise their academic dreams in tertiary institutions. Beneficiaries will begin repayment two years after graduation.
Gbajabiamila disclosed this yesterday while delivering the UNILAG 52nd Convocation Lecture, titled ‘Building Back Better: Creating a new framework for Tertiary Education in Nigeria in the 21st century.’
He explained that his passion for education prompted this bill, adding that the two-year moratorium would give the beneficiaries some breather before worrying about repayment.
“Presently before the National Assembly is a bill, the Students Loan (Access to Higher Education) Bill, which I sponsored and which sets out to provide interest free loans to students. The repayment of these loans shall commence two years after completion of the National Youth Service”, Gbajabiamila explained.
While noting that the most frequent requests he receives as a politician is funding of tertiary education, the speaker said one way this could be addressed is through a well-structured student loans policy, hence the bill.
Gbajabiamila also talked about his administration’s plans to upgrade public institutions.
“The 9th House of Representatives has education as one of its key areas of focus in its legislative agenda, termed, ‘Our Contract with Nigerians.’
“We have, for instance, taken active steps to upgrade many of our public institutions, elevating some colleges of education to university of education, amongst others”, he explained.
While talking about the problem of harassment and victimization in our higher institutions, Gbajabiamila said it is not only a problem of a few bad apples spoiling the whole bunch, ‘it is the consequence of weak institutional mechanisms.
‘And we cannot aspire to build a 21st-century institution capable of competing effectively in the global space when this issue remains a recurring cause of concern”, he added.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, however, commended the Speaker for the vital role he has played for the growth of the institution and for some kind gestures.
“Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila supported the university with internet and hotspot for faculties and hostels to allow students to enjoy free WiFi. He also facilitated the building of the multi million naija international hostel for students in the school.
He also played a vital role in averting an impending industrial strike of ASUU last year, December, Ogundipe added.