From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State has concluded the process of offering grants to 80 indigenes of the area to pursue Masters and Doctorate degree programmes in universities in the state.
Chairman of the council 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 would 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.
“Our main focus as we promised our people is the area of human capacity development. Not that we don’t have an interest in infrastructures, we do,” he said.
“As it stands today, we are giving grants to our people, those who are interested in advancing their academic qualifications by taking up PhD 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 of 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.”
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.
“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 the council,” Okonkwo said.