By Obas Esiedesa
The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has awarded scholarships to 153 doctorate students in petroleum industry related field as part of the Local Scholarship Scheme.
The scholarship covers tuition, research and other expenses.
Speaking at the induction and documentation of the scholars in Abuja on Monday, the Executive Secretary of PTDF, Dr Bello Gusau said the fund has increased the number of scholars sent to Nigerian universities as part of effort to domesticate its programme.
He said PTDF has done a lot in upgrading petroleum related departments in several Federal Universities across the country that now have the capacity to train Nigerians.
Bello who expressed the determination of the fund to close the skills gap in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, urged the scholars to develop technologies that would find solutions to the industries challenges.
The PTDF boss who was represented by the Manager, Education and Training Department, Rabi’ah Waziri Adamu, urged the scholars to become employers of labour at the end of the programmes.
He disclosed that overall for this scholarship season, 20 scholars were selected from each state of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the undergraduate programme.
For the Masters programme, he said 10 students per state and FCT were selected, while five students per state and FCT were selected for the PhD programme.
He stressed that all selected student went through rigorous screening exercise conducted by panels of experts drawn from the universities and petroleum industry.
“More than 70 percent of the experts are PTDF beneficiaries. As you know, our PhD sponsorship is targeted at lecturers. 70 percent of the slots are given to lecturers while rest goes industry and others”, he added.
He explained that for the documentation exercise only 153 PhD students have been invited out of the 179 selected for the programme because “only those that have secured admission and have proof that they have supervisors to carry out their research have been invited”.
Speaking to journalists at the event, one of the beneficiaries, Usman Bello from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi said he got selected on merit as he did not know anyone at the PTDF.
“The process was vigorous. I applied online and I was invited for an interview to face the selection team. The result came out and I was notified via email that I was among those selected”, he added.
He said his research would focus on environmental chemistry where he hopes to create solvent materials that would aid oil spill clean up.