From Sola Ojo, Kaduna

The Interim Head of the Petroleum Technology Development (PTDF)’s College of Petroleum and Energy Studies Kaduna, Dr. Munir Sirajo, on Wednesday, told newsmen that the college is empowering young Nigerians to minimize expatriates in the oil sector.

To him, Nigeria would do better when it has a lot of its citizens empowered and engaged in the oil sector of the economy which currently forms over 80 percent of the national earnings.

Sirajo, who spoke on the sideline of the college’s screening exercise for the applicants of the 2024 PTDF Post Graduate Scholarship Programme in selected institutions added that, when oil was discovered in the country, those who managed its facilities were mostly expatriates.

“So, we feel it is high time Nigerians take up those roles, which we believe is a gradual process.

“By mandate of Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF), which was set up to develop human and technological capacity for the oil and gas industry, one one of our cardinal programmes is the oversees scholarship scheme through which Nigerians are trained from various institutions across the globe”.

Earlier, the PTDF’s Team Lead for the North West Overseas Scholarship Screening Center, Kaduna, Saratu Idris, said 1,707 candidates applied for the scholarship, where 720 were shortlisted, and 189 candidates would be interviewed for the day.

She listed the scholarship programme to be on certain disciplines which were engineering, computing, Geosciences, environmental and management sciences.

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She also listed the host countries for the scholarship programmes to be Brazil, France, Malaysia, Germany and UK, explaining that some of the processes for the scholarship interview included the involvement of panelists who were mostly scholars.

One of the Panelists, Dr. Hauwa Victoria Ibrahim from Nasarawa State University, Commended the PTDF ‘s dedication to ensuring that the right candidates are being selected.

According to her, “the process ensures that there are three people in each of the eight panels to allow for multiple interviews to give everyone the benefit of being selected and at the same time save time.

“I am impressed with the qualities of prospective students that applied this year. We have seen demonstrations of excellent research skills because some of them are already proactive they stand out in their fields.

“The criteria and the steps given to us by the organisation allowed fairness. We don’t have access to the applicants and their parents or guardians except during this interview process. The screening has been so transparent.

“We will try our best to get the best for the scholarship based on the field of their research and prospective career goals and progress as well as reviewing their documents. It is what we see that we report and that is based on the candidates’ performance,” she said.

One of the applicants, Rukkaya Muhammad Adam, a graduate of Computer Science from Al-Qalam University, Katsina, said she was inspired to apply for the scholarship because she wants to join the oil and gas sector to contribute her quota to the industry by way of helping to secure Nigeria’s oil facilities through technology.

“I want to work in the oil sector as a Cyber Analyst to Check the illegal activities of oil bunkers who are stealing our common resources. I want to be part of the team securing our facilities with computer technology. I want to contribute to efforts to make our commonwealth work for the masses of Nigeria.

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