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400 Students Get SPDC N60m Scholarship

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The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited says it has awarded scholarships to the best and outstanding 400 university students, totalling N60million to enable them excel in their different fields of academic endeavours.
Speaking at the presentation of the awards for the 2015/2016 academic session at the Port Harcourt Literary Society Library, the SPDC General Manager, External Relations, Mr Igo Weli said: “SPDC does not segregate, the scholarship encompasses all fields of endeavours provided you are from the Niger Delta region and very brilliant.”
The Tide correspondent gathered that each student is given N150, 000 per annum, while the scholarship runs between four to six years depending on the course of study.
Weli stated that the SPDC JV university scholarship programme started since  1953 as one of its earliest Corporate Social Responsibility (CSO) initiatives, seven years before Nigeria gained her independence, adding that the initiative has continued to contribute to Nigeria’s human capital development.
The general manager said that SPDC was extremely proud of the success the initiative had recorded, having developed critical manpower for the development of modern Nigeria.
“From those early steps in 1953, what is now known as the NNPC/SPDC JV Scholarship programme has afforded many Nigerians the opportunity to acquire higher education, with many going on to become leaders in their chosen professions,” Weli said.
He stressed that this year’s award was very significant as it shows SPDC’s commitment to contribute to Nigeria’s human capital development despite the low oil price in the global market and the economic challenges in the country which have greatly impacted the funding of oil and gas operations.
Weli added that the company has launched the ‘Scholarship Meet Shell Programme,’ in which the beneficiaries meet and interact with Shell staff on their different chosen professions.
“Today, the SPDC JV runs four scholarship schemes as follows: The Secondary School, which supports over 1,000 students in SPDC’s operational areas in the Niger Delta annually, the Cradle-to-Career, which is an all-inclusive scholarship that provides opportunities and strong foundation for brilliant pupils in public primary schools to attend reputable secondary schools in Nigeria. The scholarship covers tuition and boarding awarded to 60 gifted young people from the Niger Delta annually,” he said.
He added that “the SPDC University Scholarship Scheme comprises two categories namely: the National Merit Award which is open to all Nigerians and the Operational Areas Award which is for undergraduates from our areas of operations in Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers States, and finally the Overseas Postgraduate scholarship programme which is awarded to 10 indigenes from Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Imo States annually for a Master’s programme in Oil and Gas-related disciplines at three top United Kingdom universities.”
Weli further stated that apart from helping to develop critical manpower, SPDC interventions in the educational sector over the years cover the building of science blocks, donation of science equipment, and establishment of the UNESCO ‘Education for All (EFA)’ goals, thereby ultimately contributing significantly to attaining the Millennium Development Goals on education in the Niger Delta and Nigeria.
Also speaking, Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Hon Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja, represented by the Head Unit, Ministry of Education, Mrs Nwamaka Joseph, urged the students to take the opportunity given them by SPDC seriously, and expressed the Rivers State Government’s gratitude to the tremendous contribution SPDC has made in ensuring education for all in the state.
In her remarks, a motivational speaker, Mrs Osasere Esekhaigbe enjoined the beneficiaries to take their academic pursuit seriously, adding that there was need for them to distinguish themselves by having good defendable grades in their courses of study.
Esekhaigbe charged the students not to settle for the SPDC required 2.5 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA), but thrive to score 4.5-5.0 CGPA as that was the only way they can compete favourably in the job markets.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, a student of the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Amassoma, from Agbere Agbama Community in Bayelsa State, Miss Tonaria Irene Ebilade said she believed the reason why she was given the scholarship was God’s divine favour, even as she said that her academic performance in the West African School Certificate (WAEC), Post UTME and her high CGPA of 3.9 played significant roles in her success story.
Ebilade urged other students and youth to take their academic pursuit seriously, adding that a time would come when they least expected and success would shine in their way.
Also speaking, another beneficiary, John Kingsley said God’s grace, favour and SPDC’s love for academic excellence propelled him to hedge on, and thanked God for the opportunity to carve a niche for himself.
On her part, a mother of one of the beneficiaries, Mrs Chioma Ndah said she would ever remain grateful to SPDC for taking the burden of paying university tuition and other fees  off the family’s shoulders, as she and her husband were already finding it difficult to fend for their six children at the same time.

Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations

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Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.

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Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.

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Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers

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The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.

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