50 students benefit from maiden Gen. Attahiru education scholarship scheme

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

The Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru Foundation (GIAF), on Thursday in Abuja, inaugurated an education scholarship scheme to sponsor 50 students annually in any Federal University in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the scholarship scheme is an initiative of the family of the late Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.

Attahiru had died in a plane crash on May 21, 2021.

The scheme is to assist children of serving and veterans of the Nigerian Army in their quest for education.

Already, 50 students drawn from the Command Secondary Schools across the six geopolitical zones have been offered scholarship, at the inauguration of the foundation on Thursday in Abuja.

In his remarks, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, said the scholarship would be ran in partnership with the Nigerian Army.

Lagbaja said the inauguration of the GIAF Tertiary Education Scholarship Scheme, was another commendable initiative that would benefit the army community, which was the late General’s primary constituency.

He said that this was in spite of the army having an established scholarship scheme for the children of its deceased personnel.

According to him, collaborating with the foundation is considered a viable option to complements the existing efforts of the army by covering a gap in its scholarship and welfare schemes.

”Our existing scholarship scheme focuses on children of deceased personnel only and not those of serving and retired personnel, as is the case with the Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru Foundation’s scheme being inaugurated today.

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”While the Army Headquarters is aware that funding is not a challenge for the foundation, we have chosen to help with the funding of this inaugural scholarship scheme for 50 carefully selected beneficiaries as a mark of respect for the late General.

”We believe that this gesture will assist the foundation in properly taking off for subsequent scholarship awards.

”As part of our commitment, the Army Headquarters Department of Army Administration and the Nigerian Army Education Corps will continue to assist the Foundation in identifying and screening suitably qualified candidates to benefit from this noble gesture,” he said.

Lagbaja, however, charged the beneficiaries of the maiden scholarship to reciprocate the noble gesture by focusing on their studies and shying away from societal ills.

He noted that the tertiary institution environment was filled with vices that could derail them and truncate their life aspirations.

He, therefore, challenged them to take the gesture as a challenge to becoming the best in whatever career path they chose to follow and ultimately give back to the foundation and the larger Nigerian society in the future.

The army chief also said that the late COAS implemented significant policies that had a profound and lasting impact on army’s counter-terrorism operations; particularly in the North East within the short time he held sway.

He thanked Mrs Fati Attahiru, wife of the late COAS for her wisdom, courage, and doggedness to pull resources together to celebrate the late General’s life, bravery, energy, and most importantly, his identity as a detribalised Nigerian.

According to him, this aspect of his character is a testament to his belief in the unity and inclusivity of our great nation.

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”I once again most sincerely, thank Mrs Attahiru and the Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru Foundation, for this scholarship initiative and for keeping the name and legacy alive and shining brighter and brighter,” he said.

The founder of the GIAF and wife of the late COAS, Mrs Attahiru, said her late husband’s background propelled him to work hard and had big dreams.

Attahiru disclosed that her husband shared with her his dream to become the army chief when he was a Lieutenant Colonel, urging the beneficiaries never to stop dreaming and look beyond the challenges they would face in life.

She urged them to develop the will power to respond to the happenings around them so as to be able to control what happened in life.

According to her, there are challenges we face, the trials, the tragedies and so on, but what we can control is how we react.

”Only you have the power to choose to be a victim or to rise above the tides, to maintain your composure, and to keep moving forward with unwavering commitments and determination.

”Telling you a bit about my late husband and his background, is to challenge you to choose not to be a victim of your circumstances, but to build the strength and resilience to overcome any challenge that comes your way,”she said.

She added that the scholarship programme would not only sponsor their education, but would also provide mentorship and roommate scholars to think big, overcome their challenges, and hopefully make a difference in the world.

She expressed happiness that the foundation started with the Nigerian Army through the command secondary schools.

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”It is also great that the scholars will be drawn from six geopolitical zones, making sure people benefit strictly on merit, irrespective of gender, ethnicity or creed.

”It is great that there will be an alumni association. So we will hopefully see future doctors, engineers, pilots, tech gurus as alumni of the foundation’s scholarship programme” she added. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Deborah Coker and Abiemwense Moru

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