BY Dikachi Elemba
A total of 370 undergraduates, including the visually impaired, studying in institutions of higher learning in Nigeria have received scholarship awards from MTN Foundation at ceremonies done in Abuja, Lagos and Owerri.
The scholarship is only available to students in 300 level but at 200 level for the visually impaired students.
Dennis Okoro, the director of the MTN Foundation Scholarships said, “Our mandate as a foundation is to look after education, health and economic empowerment of the youths in the country. Under education we have a series of programmes for youths.”
Okoro, in an interview with select journalists in Owerri, said: “The event is to showcase what we are doing for youths who happen to be studying science and technology in various universities in Nigeria, as well as take care of the blind students who we support in whatever field they are studying in the universities. And we restricted them to science and technology because of our situation in the country.
“MTN doesn’t joke with excellence, so that’s why we are looking for excellence in youths and you can see what we showcased today. It is not only to dash them money for scholarships to play around the campus,” Okoro added.
However, Innocent Entonu, the regional general manager, South East and South-South, MTN Nigeria, in an interview, said that the event in Owerri was to bring the new awardees for the MTN Scholarship and, of course, to induct those who have graduated .
“We have 370 awardees today, including the visually impaired students. Each awardee gets N200,000 and we also have capacity development programmes and training. The scholarship lasts as long as they are in school and still maintain their CPGA. I wish them all the best, for the new awardees and for the inductees, those graduates, as they move into life.”
It should be noted that the scholarship programme was initiated in 2009 and provides support to high-performing students through annual awards to students in three categories – science and technology scholarships, scholarship for the blind students, and scholarships for 10 top scoring candidates of UTME.