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FG Lists Conditions For Student Loan Applicants

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The Federal Government, on Monday, said the Education Tax under the Federal Inland Revenue Service would serve as one of the funding sources for the recently established Student Loan Scheme.

This was as it detailed the conditions that an applicant must meet to qualify for the loan.

It said the scheme would be fully automated to ensure zero human involvement in the application and processing of the loans to applicants.

“That is why the education tax fund is one of the sources of funding that we will use to execute this programme,” said FIRS Chairman, Dr Zacch Adedeji, when he addressed State House Correspondents after briefing President Bola Tinubu on the impending launch of the scheme at the Aso Rock Villa on Monday.

Barely one week earlier, the Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu, revealed that the scheme was on track to start in January 2024 as the President promised last October.

Adedeji, who spoke alongside the Executive Secretary of the Student Loan Board, Dr Akintunde Sawyerr, said channeling the education tax into the scheme was the administration’s way of being accountable to Nigerian taxpayers.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Tinubu Signs Student Loan Bill Into Law

“This is in fulfillment of Mr President’s promise that we will make education accessible to all. This is one of the schemes where we will be applying the education tax that we collect.

“It is a way of being accountable to the taxpayers because the essence of education tax is to consolidate and restore education integrity and quality. In fulfilling that part of the Act, education tax fund is one of the sources of funding that we will use to execute this programme,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Scheme, Sawyerr, who gave his first public briefing on the programme said eligible applicants would route their requests through the loan app or website, affirming that the scheme would be devoid of human involvement.

He itemised the application process, saying prospective candidates must avail their JAMB registration number, date of birth, National Identification Number and Biometric Verification Number, among others.

“The applicant will go on to a portal, or they will engage with the app. They will have to put in certain pieces of information that make them eligible, such as their JAMB number and, of course, the tie-in to their date of birth.

“Further pieces of information include their NIN, which confirms that they are Nigerians. This loan scheme is being paid for by Nigerian taxpayers. So, it’s for Nigerians and the NIN helps verify and qualify them as such.

READ ALSO: Tinubu Announces Commencement Date For Students Loan

“Their BVN is for financial inclusion because this scheme in itself will, at some point, be able to empower students, so we need to know they have bank accounts. We need to know where their accounts are to be able to access those accounts.

“It will also have their matric number and admission number so that we can firmly establish which institution they are going to because one of the key elements of this is that once we have received applications and those applications are approved, the fees or the tuition requirements in terms of financials will be transferred directly to the institution. That in itself has benefits for the institution,” The Executive Secretary explained.

While likening the loan to a bridge linking the desire for further education and the funds to do so, Sawyerr explained that the FG was keen to ensure that young Nigerians do not fail to acquire tertiary education simply because they lack the funds.

He said, “The intention behind it is to ensure that the reason for not being able to go on and further your education at a tertiary level is not for the lack of finance. This law seeks to bridge the gap between the desire to study and the capacity to go further. It seeks to bridge that gap that is created by lack of finance and funding.”

The Loan Chief explained that the scheme would enable Nigerians to pick a career trajectory of their choice rather than being forced into other paths because they were unable to acquire vital education.

He also affirmed that the loan would help to stem the dangerous journey undertaken by Nigerian youths across the Sahel to Europe in search of a better life.

READ ALSO: FG Announces N75 billion Interest-free Loan For 1.5m Market Women

“Some of the opportunities provided by the scheme include enrolling intending students in teacher training programmes and vocational skills.

“The programme provides opportunities for Nigerian students who want to go into the academic and get a university degree or perhaps want the technical side and acquire some vocational skills and also in the teacher training space.

“This intervention will affect the lives of many Nigerian youths because that’s usually the bracket to further their education. It will enable us to intervene and support families, particularly the needy,” he explained.

The Executive Secretary disclosed that the school fees for successful applicants would be transferred directly to their institutions.

On June 12, 2023, President Bola Tinubu signed the Student Loan Bill into law. The move was in “fulfilment of one of his campaign promises to liberalise funding of education,” a member of the then Presidential Strategy Team, Dele Alake, told journalists. The law enables indigent students to access loans at interest-free rates.

Declaring the 29th session of the annual Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja open on October 23, 2023, the President said, “By January 2024, the new Students Loan Programme must commence. To the future of our children and students, we’re saying no more strikes!”

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Health

Cough: What You Need To Know

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By Silver Yeibake

The cough reflex is a protective mechanism that helps to clear the airways of mucus, irritants, or foreign particles. When our airway is irritated, it sends a signal to the brain, which then triggers the muscles in our chest and abdomen to quickly expel air, clearing or removing the irritant. This reflex acts as a crucial defense mechanism for the respiratory system. “Cough is not a disease process.”

Kindly note the beautifully coordinated steps involved in the action we know as cough:

1. Irritatant detection: The first step in the cough reflex is the detection of an irritant in the airways, such as dust, smoke, or mucus by special protein complexes called irritants receptors (for convenience) which convert the sensation into an electrical impulse.

READ ALSO: Food Poisoning: What You Need To Know

2. Signal Transmission: The receptors in the airway send the signals along nerves to the brain, specifically to a part called *”the cough center”* located in the medulla oblongata, a part of the brainstem.

3. Signal Processing: The brain processes these signals and responds by sending nerve impulses back to the muscles involved in the coughing process.

4. Muscle Contraction: The diaphragm, abdominal muscles, and muscles in the chest wall contract, increasing the pressure in the chest and forcing air out of the lungs at a high speed, making the sound that is characteristic of cough.

5. Expelling Irritant: The forceful release of air clears the airway, expelling/removing the irritant and helping to protect the respiratory system.

The above steps are designed to occur repeatedly until the irritant is removed from the airways or respiratory system or drugs are given to suppress this important protective function.

Although taking cough medication for relief as first aid is usual, it is best to identify and address the cause as soon as possible. Seek medical attention if 2 to 3 days of therapy do not give improvement or the symptom worsened rapidly.

Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver, a
Senior Registrar, Faculty Of Pediatrics, West Africa College of Physician (WACP), writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

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Aiyedatiwa Declares Public Holidays In Ondo To Honour Late Akeredolu

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Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo state, has declared Thursday, 22nd and Friday, 23rd of February 2024 as public holidays in the state to honour the late governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

The two work-free days, according to the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Ebenezer Adeniyan, in Akure, will allow the people of the State to participate in the burial activities of the former Governor.

Recall that the burial activities of the late governor Akeredolu started last Thursday.

READ ALSO: Funeral Arrangements For Akeredolu Commences Today

Other activities include Ajabue( traditional rites) slated for Owo, on Wednesday, a special court session, at the Ondo State High Court Headquarters,
Hospital Road, Akure, by 10am

The lying in State and Commendation Service, will hold same day at the Akure Township Stadium, by 1pm, Evening of Tributes, at St Andrews Church,
Imola Street, Owo, from 4pm – 7pm

On Thursday, February 22 (Public holiday), a service of songs holds at St Andrews Cathedral, Imola Street,
Owo, by 4 pm.

READ ALSO: [BREAKING] PHOTOS: Akeredolu’s Remains Arrive Nigeria

The wake-keep, will hold at Maranatha Villa, Owo, by 8pm while a candlelight Procession & World Gyration by the Kegites Club, holds at 8pm till Dawn

On Friday, February 23 (Public holiday), the Funeral Service will take place at St Andrews Church, Imola Street, Owo by10 am, Interment follows immediately after the burial service at the burial site, Owo, (Strictly for immediate family) while reception follows at Mydas Hotel and Resort, Ikare Road, Owo by 1pm.

Akeredolu Memorial Friendly football match, will take place at the Akure Township Stadium, Akure, by 3 pm on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

The thanksgiving Service holds at St Andrews Church, Imola Street, Owo, by 10 am.

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JUST IN: Tinubu Appoints New CEO Of Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit

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President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday approved the appointment of Hafsat Bakari as the Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, pending her confirmation by the Senate.

Bakari replaces Modibbo Tukur who was relieved of his job by Tinubu in June 2023.

The appointment was contained in a statement by Tinubu’s Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), Ajuri Ngelale.

Bakari was described as a lawyer and financial intelligence expert with years of experience in anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, and counter-proliferation financing.

READ ALSO: Obasanjo Advocates Law To Curb Organ Trafficking

Before her appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of the NFIU, she served as Deputy Director at the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, and was at different times the Head of the General Services Unit; Head of the Strategy and Reorientation Unit, and Head of the Board Secretariat of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The statement added that Tinubu, “anticipates that Ms. Bakare will bring her wealth of experience and expertise to full discharge in this critical role, especially in view of his administration’s war against illicit financial flows and other sharp practices currently prevalent in segments of the nation’s foreign exchange markets”

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