By Jethro Ibileke
No fewer than 2000 indigent undergraduate students from host communities have benefited from scholarship scheme of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), in the past five years.
The benefiting students are from Edo, Delta, Imo, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States.
The scholarship scheme covers the entire duration of the respective courses of the beneficiaries.
The Managing Director of NPDC, Mansur Sambo, disclosed this on Saturday at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Delta state.
Sambo who was represented by the Manager (Community Relations), lauded the academic performance of students that have so far benefited from the scheme, even as he called on parents to encourage their wards to key into the scheme to ameliorate the burden of financing their children’s education.
He noted that over 4000 had participated in the scholarship examinations, from which the benefiting students were selected.
He said the scholarship programme was part of the establishment’s corporate social responsibility geared towards building human and capital development of youths.
“This is a pre-selection examination for indigent students of the company’s host communities and it is taking place simultaneously in Delta, Imo and Rivers states.
“This year, over 300 students are participating in the scholarship examinations, after which the successful students will be awarded the scholarship. The number reduced this year because our assets reduced.
“The scholarship scheme is not a one year scheme but the one that will take them through the university until they graduate. But the scheme does not include employment.
“We have also donated science books, e-library, chairs and desks to OML 111 host communities and about 150 tricycles to OML 40 host communities. So will continue to do our best to ameliorate the untold hardships in the communities.
“The main thrust of NPDC corporate social responsibility policy is education. The relevant of education in any society cannot be over emphasised.
“If you educate a society you educate the whole nation for improvement, for technology and development in general.
“But if you have an illiterate society you have an illiterate nation, and that nation will be stagnated in all facets of human life.
“So because of the relevant of education, NPDC decided that part of its main thrust should be education, and that is what gave birth to this scholarship programme for indigent students in its host communities,” he said.
Also speaking, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration, Federal University of Petroleum Resources(FUPRE), Prof. Prekeyi Tawari-Fufeyin, commended NPDC for the initiative.
“This is an educational institution and we are consultant to NPDC. We are in charge of conducting the scholarship examinations for selected students from different communities.
“About 180 students are writing this exam in FUPRE here in Warri today. We have over 300 students in all the three centres where the exams is taking place and we are coordinating three centres, Imo, Delta and Egbema.
“The programme is a laudable initiative which the Niger Delta youths should take advantage of, to empower themselves for the future.
“Youth restiveness has reduced in the Niger Niger Delta area but not totally eradicated because they are beginning to take advantage and appreciate NPDC initiatives
“The scheme is for those that are already university students, some of whom cannot pay the fees because of poverty and of course the school survive on payment of fees.
“So, when they are not able to pay, the school send them home but with the laudable initiative of the NPDC, successful students will enjoy the scholarship until they graduate and became professionals.
According to her, the scholarship programme is a very welcome development which should be emulated by other oil producing companies that are not doing as much as NPDC.
“This is the third time we are conducting the scholarship examinations. The first time, we had over 800 students selected for the scholarship exams
“The last exam we conducted, the number dropped because NPDC assets reduced. The number of students coming from NPDC concession areas reduced too,” she said.
One of the beneficiaries, Master Glory Ikpuri, a 200-level political science student, thanked NPDC for the opportunity to participate in the exams.
“I’m even surprised at the allowance they gave me today. I hope and pray that I pass the exams so that i can enjoy the scholarship,” he said.
NPDC is a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).