Connect with us

Nigeria News

Interview: NANS President Speaks On Delayed Student Loan, Cultism And Tuition Fee Hike




Minimum Wage: NANS Declares Position On Planned Labour Strike

Amidst growing concerns over the delayed implementation of student loans and the increasing prevalence of cultism in higher education institutions across Nigeria, Naija News had an exclusive interview with the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Pedro Obi.

The conversation spanned the critical issues of student loans, the rise of cultism, and the surging tuition fees in higher institutions.

The interview shed light on the measures being undertaken by the union to safeguard student welfare and address these pressing challenges.

Can we meet you, sir?

“Certainly! My name is Comrade Pedro Obi, a PhD Student of Delta State University, Abraka and I am the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). It is a pleasure to meet you.”
What motivated you to run for the position of student union leader?
“I was motivated to run for the position of student union leader because I have always been passionate about advocating for the rights and welfare of Nigerian students. I believe that as the voice of the students, I can work towards creating positive change and ensuring that their concerns are addressed effectively.”
Can you tell us about your background and experiences that have prepared you for this leadership role?
“I come from a humble background, and I have personally experienced the challenges that many students face in pursuing higher education. I have been actively involved in student activism throughout my academic journey, which has given me a deep understanding of the issues affecting students. Additionally, I have held leadership positions within various student organizations, which have equipped me with the necessary skills and experiences to take on this role.”
How do you envision balancing your academic responsibilities with your duties as a student union leader?
“Balancing academic responsibilities with my duties as a student union leader is essential. I understand the importance of education, and I will prioritize my studies while also fulfilling my responsibilities as a leader. Effective time management, delegation of tasks, and collaboration with the student union team will be crucial in ensuring that both areas are given the attention they deserve.”
What do you believe are your strengths as a leader, and how do you plan to leverage them in your role?  
“One of my strengths as a leader is my ability to listen and understand the concerns of the student community. I plan to leverage this by actively engaging with students, organizing town hall meetings, and creating platforms where their voices can be heard. By fostering a culture of inclusivity and transparency, I believe we can work together to bring about positive change.”
Can you provide us with your perspective on the recent increase in tuition fees? How do you believe it will impact students’ access to higher education?
“The recent increase in tuition fees is a matter of great concern for us as students. We believe that education should be accessible to all, regardless of their financial background. Increasing tuition fees may limit students’ access to higher education, especially those from low-income families. As the student union leader, I will vehemently advocate for affordable education and engage with the relevant stakeholders to find a viable solution to this issue.”
How do you handle disagreements or conflicts within the student union, and how would you resolve conflicts that arise between the union and the administration?
“Disagreements and conflicts are inevitable in any organization, including the student union. However, I believe in resolving conflicts through dialogue and constructive engagement. Open communication channels, mediation, and negotiation will be utilized to address disagreements within the student union. In the case of conflicts with the administration, we will employ peaceful means of resolution, such as dialogue, negotiations, and, if necessary, peaceful protests.”
What do you hope to achieve during your tenure as the student union leader, both personally and for the student community as a whole?
“During my tenure as the student union leader, my primary goal is to improve the overall welfare of Nigerian students. I aim to enhance student support services, advocate for affordable education, and work towards the creation of a conducive learning environment. Additionally, I hope to foster unity among students and promote their active participation in decision-making processes that affect their lives.”
Regarding the worrisome rise in cultist attacks around university campuses, have the union taken any steps to stem the tide?
“The rise in cultist attacks around university campuses is indeed a worrisome issue. The student union has taken several steps to address this menace. We have collaborated with relevant security agencies, organized awareness campaigns, and engaged in community outreach programs to sensitize students about the dangers of cultism. We are also working closely with campus security to strengthen security measures and ensure the safety of students.”
Pertaining to the Student loan, What steps has the student union taken to address concerns regarding the delay in commencement of the loan scheme?
“The delay in the commencement of the student loan scheme is a pressing concern. The student union has been actively engaging with the government and other stakeholders to address this issue. We have held meetings, submitted petitions, to draw attention to the urgency of implementing the student loan scheme. We will continue to apply pressure and work towards its prompt commencement, as whatever that will lead to it’s success and effectiveness in operation is our utmost priority.”
How do you plan to ensure that the promised student loans are introduced effectively and accessible to all students in need of it as a student body?
“To ensure the effective and accessible implementation of the promised student loans, we will advocate for transparency in the selection process, ensuring that it is fair and objective. We will also work closely with the government to establish clear guidelines and eligibility criteria for students in need of financial assistance. Regular feedback and evaluation mechanisms will be put in place to ensure accountability and effectiveness. Most of the earlier identifiable bottlenecks to ease in accessing the fund by majority of Nigerian Students have been communicated to the Scheme management, which forms part of the changes that have been sent to the National Assembly for reenactment.”
What strategies do you have in mind to advocate for more affordable education beyond student loans?
“Beyond student loans, we believe in advocating for more affordable education. We will engage in strategic partnerships with educational institutions, government bodies, and other stakeholders to explore innovative ways of reducing the financial burden on students. This may include lobbying for increased funding for education, promoting scholarship programs, and supporting initiatives that provide affordable textbooks and learning resources. In a nutshell, we will continue to call on Federal Government to massively and adequately fund the Education sector.”
Can you share any specific initiatives or campaigns the student union is planning or has already undertaken to address the financial burden on students?
“The student union has undertaken various initiatives and campaigns to address the financial burden on students. We have organized workshops on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and scholarship opportunities. We also collaborate with NGOs and philanthropic organizations to provide financial aid and scholarship opportunities to deserving students. We have also gone further to collaborate with well meaning institutions and organizations to teach our fellow students tech skills, which holds no barrier in career entry. Additionally, we actively engage in advocacy efforts to influence policies that support affordable education and student welfare.”