A former diplomat and Nigerian Ambassador to Argentina, Amb Empire Kanu in Umuahia at the weekend insisted that the nation will only move forward if the youths are redirected and retransformed to trade on the track of education rather than the evil ways of violence.
He contended that a well educated and exposed child will not be involved in violence, emphasising that a properly educated child would strive to ensure peace and unity in his environment having been properly exposed through learning.
Fielding questions from newsmen in Umuahia, Kanu argued that the present wanton destruction of lives and properties across the nation is as a result of ignorance occasioned by lack of sound education and unemployment.
The former diplomat, who is also the chairman of Abia State Scholarship Board, lauded the Abia State government for paying the bursary of some students and offering some Abia indigenes scholarships to study abroad.
According to him, the policy has gone a long way in ameliorating youth restiveness in the state, adding that the Abia State government, since the past two years, has given scholarships to over 50 students of Abia State origin currently studying some specialised courses in some Australia and India universities.
The diplomat maintained that the scholarships are being offered through the State Scholarship Board and that the students are comfortably studying abroad despite hiccups initially posed by the COVID-19 scourge that ravaged the world.
He described the policy to make Abia indigenes acquire tertiary education abroad Okezie Ikpeazu administration as commendable and emphasised that the Abia State Scholarship Board will pursue the policy to its logical conclusion.
On why some of the students abandoned the programme midway, Kanu attributed it to personal choices and inability to pass the International English Language Testing System ((IELTS) amongst others.
“Initially, we started with Australian scholarship and sometime in March 2020, we got a lead from the Excellent African Foundation to extend our scholarship programme to two universities in India because we made our enquiries and found their curricula and programmes valuable”, he opined.
The diplomat informed that the board encountered some challenges during the COVID-19 lockdown last year which, according to him, nearly paralyzed its activities, stressing that even as the pandemic was ravaging, the board continued to offer scholarships to Abia students to study in Australia and other countries of the world.
“We’re also working towards procuring Australian visa for 30 Abia State indigenes before the end of August 2021. We’ve already procured visas for 15 of these students; eight of them have already done their biometrics and medicals with the Australian Embassy”, he added.
On Abia students in the Nigeria Law School, the Abia Scholarship Board Chairman disclosed that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has given directive that their names be compiled for the payment of Bursary Awards, adding that as soon as the exercise is completed, they will receive their bursary.
In his comment, the Executive Secretary of the board, Mr Chukwuka Daniel stated that in order not to waste a whole year during the lockdown COVID-19 of 2020, last the, board asked the schools to make provisions for online academic studies, pointing out those students utilised the opportunity in full.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.