PTDF screens candidates for 2023/2024 overseas scholarship

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By Lucy Ogalue

The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has commenced the final stage of the selection process for the award of the 2023/2024 overseas scholarship to qualified Nigerians.

The Head of Overseas Scholarship Scheme, Mrs Bolanle Agboola, told newsmen on Monday in Abuja that only qualified candidates would be awarded.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the PTDF on February 5 put out an advert inviting qualified Nigerians to apply for the 2024/2025 Postgraduate Overseas Scholarship Scheme (OSS).

The physical Interview exercise for shortlisted candidates in the two categories (MSc/PhD) is scheduled to be held between May 20 and 24 in six designated centres across the country’s six geo-political zones.

According to Agboola, the exercise is not just held in Abuja. We have a centre for the South-South at the University of Port Harcourt; and for South-West, the University of Ibadan.

Agboola said, ”For the South-East, we have University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus; for North-West we have College of Petroleum and Energy Studies in Kaduna; and for the North-East we have ATBU, Bauchi.

”The exercise is running concurrently in all the six geo-political zones of the county and our target is to select the best candidates for the scholarship.”

She disclosed that more than 20,000 applications were received, out of which over 5,000 were shortlisted across the zones.

Agboola explained that PTDF was an agency of the Federal Government charged with the responsibility of building capacity and capability for the oil and gas industry.

”The purpose of this is for the indigenisation of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

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”Our target is to give the necessary skills and provide the opportunity for Nigerians to acquire the knowledge, skills and competence required for the oil and gas industry.

”Note that every state of the nation will get an equal number of candidates based on our budget for the year,” she said.

On the reason for the overseas training, Agboola explained that it was due to the non-availability of most of the high level equipment needed for the training in the country.

”So, we train people abroad, so they can have hands-on experience of all the equipment and technology needed for the industry which is not readily available in the country.

”Aside from the overseas scholarship we also have the in-country scholarship where Nigerians are trained within Nigeria.

”We have upgraded the facilities of some universities in the country to some level and we partner with these universities to run the scholarship,’’ she added.

Speaking on the ”Japa syndrome”,  Agboola said that the PTDF had some measures in place to ensure that the candidates returned back to the country upon completion of their training.

She added,”What we do is that the applicants sign bonds with us before going abroad. Also some of these countries we send them to do not allow them to stay back.

”Once you have sponsorship from a government agency, if you want to get a stay visa, they will ask you to go back to your sponsor for a letter of no objection.

”So these are some of the measures that are in place and I can tell you that lots of them come back.’’

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Agboola said the PTDF was partnering with four countries which the candidates would be sent to for training, adding that they included the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, one of the shortlisted candidates, Amira Bello from Niger, expressed delight at the seamless nature and smoothness of the exercise.

Bello, who expressed optimism that she would be awarded to further her studies in Project Management, urged other Nigerians to key into the process to benefit from the scheme.

”I have been hearing about the PTDF scholarship and did not know that it was possible until now. The whole process has been fair and smooth.

”I encourage Nigerians out there to apply for this scholarship, as they stand the chance to qualify as the process is based on merit,” she said.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Deborah Coker/Bashir Rabe Mani

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