[From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia]
Abia Government has granted overseas scholarships to 28 students indigenes of the state while more than 50 applications were currently being processed under the state government’s Overseas Scholarship Programme.
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, met with the 28 beneficiaries of the overseas scholarship Monday at Government House where he charged them not to abscond when they travel abroad but should avail themselves of the opportunity to improve themselves and seek ways they would contribute to the advancement of the State after their studies.
Ikpeazu disclosed that part of the reason the state embarked on the Overseas Scholarship Programme was to fill the existing huge gaps in some specialized areas of study, especially in the sciences, adding that serious due diligence were carried out before the universities in Australia and India were selected.
The Governor warned the beneficiaries not to view their foreign training as an opportunity to abscond, stressing that they would be under constant supervision by the Scholarship Board and that he would personally demand periodic reports of their academic records.
He said that his administration was sponsor the beneficiaries because of the need for human capital development even in the midst of economic challenges, aside from huge investments in infrastructure.
Ikpeazu also assured that over 50 qualified Abia youths seeking admissions and scholarships abroad through the State Scholarship Board, that their applications being processed in collaboration with universities in different countries, would be completed before the end of this year to enable them to travel and commence their studies.
The Governor noted that the Overseas Scholarship was a manifestation of his administration’s numerous interventions overseas and congratulated the beneficiaries on the milestone.
He thanked the Australian and Indian High Commissions for ensuring that Visas for successful students were released despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and also thanked the Abia State Scholarship Board for resurrecting the once moribund Board.
Earlier, the Chairman of Abia State Scholarship Board, Ambassador Empire Kanu, had said that the choice of the Universities in Australia and India were based on their reputable records, adding that the development would afford the beneficiaries the opportunity to leverage on the technological advancement and academic success of these institutions.
Presenting the beneficiaries to the Governor, the Executive Secretary of Abia State Scholarship Board, Mr Chukwuka Daniel, said the Board was currently processing several new applications, while those whose visas were ready have been enjoying Online lectures and would soon depart for Australia and India.
Responding on behalf of other beneficiaries, Mr Ekele Nnaemeka, and Miss Esther Okezie, thanked the Governor for the opportunity given them to further their academic pursuits abroad.
They promised that they would study hard to justify the confidence reposed in them as well as remain good ambassadors of the State.
Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Chris Ezem, Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Professor ACB Agbazuere, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Deputy Governor, Sir Don Ubani, were among top government officials who witnessed the event.