President Bola Tinubu has said that the impact of the removal of oil subsidy is very tough on Nigerians and has affected every sector, including education, but gave the assurance that the future is bright. Tinubu, who is the Visitor to the University of Lagos, UNILAG, spoke at the 54th convocation ceremony of the university. Tinubu, represented on the occasion by the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, SAN, said the impact could be seen in the high cost of living that has affected parents, guardians, students and other Nigerians. “We took some life changing decisions including the removal of fuel subsidy and single exchange rate of the Naira. There is no doubt that the actions have led to Nigerians, including parents, guardians and even students experiencing some discomfort. The decisions affected the education sector, with parents paying more for education among others. I can assure you that the pains will soon be over and that the future is bright. For the education sector, we are assuring you that no Nigerian child will drop out of school.
“It is in view of that we brought back the School Feeding Programme and also introduced the Student Loan Scheme. The loan is repayable two years after a beneficiary has completed the mandatory one year National Youth Service Corps Scheme, NYSC. We are also not taking higher education for granted and that is why we recently took some decisions like removing higher institutions from the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS. We are also on the agenda of autonomy for universities.
Regarding the setting up and running of universities in the country, we are moving to the fourth stage, which is the internalisation of the university system. The first stage was the setting up of universities by the federal government. The second stage is the setting up of universities by state governments and the third stage is the coming on board of private universities. The fourth stage is that we want foreign investors and foreign universities to come and set up universities here . They can also do so in partnership with our universities here,” he said.
The President, who commended the management of UNILAG for contributing to the manpower development of the country, expressed the hope that the graduands would go into the world and make positive impact on the society. He also charged academics to let the world feel their impact by proffering solutions to societal problems. In her address the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, said the university has made tremendous progress in the last one year. “A lot has happened in the last one year but I will mention a few. Our research activities and income from research grants continue to grow with our staff attracting over N11 billion in grant income in both local and foreign currency. These figures are derived from 42 grants obtained in the year 2023 only and they cut across the sciences, social sciences and the arts,” she said. The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is also an alumnus of the university, opined that UNILAG has proven to be a leading citadel of learning, not only in the country, but on the continent and also globally. He reiterated the commitment of his administration to give education its pride of place in the scheme of things.