The Students' Wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups (SW-CNG), Niger State Chapter, has rejected the recently signed student loan act, calling for a review of the act before the commencement of implementation.
In a town hall meeting held at the School of Health Technology, Minna, the group observed that the students' loan programme was done in good faith but that the stringent criteria attached for its eligibility will render the majority of the students ineligible for the loan.
In a communiqué issued after the town hall meeting, the group said it had observed with concern the recent developments in the education sector, particularly the university system, and top among the issues were the hiking of registration fees by some federal universities and the introduction of a student loan scheme.
According to the CNG-SW, the introduction of exorbitant fees and student loans in our universities was not in the best interest of the students, especially with stringent conditions attached, and they were likely to deter indigent students from the chance of a university education.
The group added that it was certain that all the criteria set for loans to prospective students remained extremely difficult to fulfil for the children of the poor, stressing the need to review the Act to make the loan accessible to all interested students, particularly the aspect of the guarantor and the repayment period.
"CNG Students Wing, therefore, calls on the Federal Government to review the strict criteria to make it accessible to students.
We call on the Federal Universities to also rescind their decisions to hike registration fees in the interest of the country," the group added in the communiqué.
The CNG-SW added that it was determined to engage all stakeholders to bring succour to students and called on students who can afford to pay their school fees to do so to enable only the less privileged to have access to the loan.
In his presentation on the theme of the town hall meeting, the guest speaker, who is equally the immediate past Chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Niger State Chapter, Comrade Bello Barau Sherif, observed that the idea was to provide access to quality education to the children of the common man.
He said the student loan was a good development, but the point of contention was the criteria for eligibility, adding that some of the basic requirements might not be within the reach of the students who genuinely needed the loan.
Comrade Bello Sharif revealed that the student loan was a global practise but that the criteria for eligibility were too cumbersome for the students to access the loan. He called on the federal government to look into it and make a review so that the aim of introducing it would be achieved.
In their separate goodwill messages, the Chairman of NYCN's Niger State Chapter, Comrade Abdullahi Ishaq, and the former national President of the National Association of Niger State Students (NANISS), Comrade Gambo Mohammed, observed that at the moment students did not need loans but grants and support.
With the current realities on the ground due to the fuel subsidy removal, the government should not be talking about loans for students but palliatives for students to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal, urging the students to resist the temptation of trying to access the loan.
Niger State Governor, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago, has given a marching order to the state Commissioner of Police to go after hoodlums and bring them to book.
He also ordered that anyone who was found selling drugs would have his building confiscated and demolished.
The governor handed down the orders when he donated 20 operational vehicles to security operatives to curb crimes in Minna metropolis.
Governor Umaru Bago, who handed over the vehicles at Government House, Minna, expressed concern over the security challenges faced in the state capital and said he was optimistic that the vehicles would help curb the menace.
The governor directed the Commissioner of Police (CP), Niger State Command, Ogundele Ayodeji, to make effective use of the vehicles to address insecurity within Minna metropolis.
"I am giving you a matching order from this point to go after the hoodlums and bring them to book".
"This is intended to flush out the hoodlums and criminal elements within the metropolis in particular and the state as a whole, and again, we have realised that a lot of drug trafficking and drug-related issues are happening in Minna, and therefore anybody that is keeping or selling drugs on his premises is at his own risk", he warned.
In a press release signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mal. Bologi Ibrahim, and made available to Newsline, the governor emphasised that his administration will have zero tolerance for drugs and other forms of criminality.
While responding, CP Ogundele Ayodeji, who commended the governor for providing the operational vehicles to aid their work in ensuring the safety of lives and property of the citizenry, assured that the people of the state will breathe a sigh of relief as his men and other sister security agencies will swing into action immediately.
Governor Umaru Bago made a symbolic presentation of the keys to the commissioner of police for onward distribution to other sister agencies.
Out of the 20 operational vehicles branded "Operation Flush", 12 were given to the Nigeria Police, while the State Security Service (SSS) and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) will have two each.
The Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN), the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Hunters Group, and the Anti Drug Committee (ADC) received one each.