Nigeria’s new President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has signed into law a student loan bill, a first of its kind in the country, that offers financial support for poorer students in higher education.
Local students in tertiary institutions such as universities, colleges and polytechnics will now be able to easily get interest-free loans from the Nigerian Education Loan Fund to cover tuition fees.
In November, the Nigerian parliament passed the legislation seeking to establish a national education bank to offer loans to students.
But former President Muhammadu Buhari failed to assent to the bill before leaving office on 29 May. No explanation was given for his inaction on this.
The bill was introduced in 2016 by Mr Tinubu’s chief of staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, when he was the speaker of the House of Representatives.
He now says the “future of the country” is guaranteed, adding that “no Nigerian child [will] be denied access to tertiary education on account of lack of financial resources”.
Beneficiaries of the loan are expected to start repayment as soon as they gain employment, following the completion of their studies and mandatory national service.
Before now, banks in Nigeria could only grant student loans to parents of the students with very stringent conditions.
Some students have had to drop out or get odd jobs to pay their way through college.