About 80 natives of the Obio/Akpor local government area of Rivers State, are to benefit from the post-graduate scholarship programme planned by the new local government administration.
The scholarship cost would be determined by the tuition and other costs of the three participating universities in Rivers State.
The Council Chairman, Barrister George Ariolu, disclosed this when the leadership of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) visited him in his office at Rumuodomanya, Port Harcourt.
Ariolu stated that grants will be given to 50 candidates to pursue a Masters degree programme and another 30 to those pursuing Doctorate degree programmes at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State University and the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.
He said: “Our main focus as we promised our people is the area of human capacity development. Not that we don’t have an interest in infrastructure, we do.
“As it stands today, we are giving grants to our people, those who are interested in advancing their academic qualifications by taking up Ph.D and Masters degree programmes.
“For Masters degree, we have grants for 50 while PhD is 30 for now. But because of pressure, we will likely take it up to 50. We set up a committee made up three professors, an academic doctor, who is a senior lecturer and a lawyer. Today, they are conducting interviews for the applicants at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.
“Our catchment areas are the University of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State University and the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education. Those are universities in Rivers State so that little money we will give will be of immense benefit to them.”
The chairman also announced the vocational training of 200 beneficiaries from the local government in scaffolding, forklift and tractor operations, adding that because of the attractive nature these offer over 1,000 persons had applied for the vocational training.
Ariolu added that his administration would factor people into the maritime sector because of its viability, adding the council in partnership with Charkin Maritime Academy will train them to diploma level in maritime transport.
He said that because of the capital-intensive nature of the training where it costs up to N3.5-million a candidate only 10 persons were so far undergoing studies in the academy.
He explained that his efforts so far at the council was a demonstration of his passion for human capital development.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the NUJ, Amaechi Okonkwo, assured the Council Chairman of the support of journalists throughout the duration of his tenure in office.
Okonkwo said: “We have had a relationship with you before now and we are happy with that relationship because we were getting quality service and advice from you.
“So, we deemed it fit and necessary to come to say congratulations to you and to assure you of our support through your stay as Chairman of Council.”
He urged the Chairman to change the narratives in local government administration by initiating necessary changes that will grow the economy of the local government and develop its people.
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