The 31 Nigerians will be sponsored to study in Australia

31 Nigerians have been awarded scholarships for the long term postgraduate development sponsored by the Australian government under its 2013 Australian Awards Programme.

Briefing the press on Thursday at the Official Australian residence, the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency Ian McConville said it was a great honor to have four of the awardees representing Nigeria at the vanguard of the collaboration and building up links at the people-people level between Australia and Nigeria.

?I personally think the scholarship programme is the most important development assistance collaboration any two countries can get involved in? he said.

The High Commissioner noted that the process is competitive and transparent and not influenced by any public office holder. ?Those receiving the award competed with others across Africa? he said. This he added shows the potential of Nigerians to get more of these scholarships.

?That is why we are here today, to promote the initiative so that more people can know, and the more Nigerians can apply.? He encouraged that more people should apply noting that there are over 1,000 scholarships available for Africans and so far in 2012, 49 have been awarded but there is room for more.

He introduced the awardees, encouraging them to be ambassadors of the programme. The qualified applicants will enjoy benefits that include, full cost of tuition, training materials, accommodation, living expenses, health insurance for basic medical and hospital care and travel.

The four Awardees present at the briefing are Bunmi Olalekan-Odusanya, Tarfa Makyur, Nneka Orji and Blessing Abdullahi.

There will be a pre-departure briefing programme in October to involve all the awardees including some from other African countries.

The High Commissioner further noted that it is a government to government programme therefore it focuses on those working with government agencies to apply for the short term scholarship awards. He however added that the long term programmes are also open to civil societies and not exclusive to public workers.

?The most important part of the programme is that the awardees will come back and give back to their country? he noted.

One of the awardees Mr. Tarfa Makyur was selected for the Australian Leadership Award Scholarship (ALAS) which includes additional training and mentoring. This award is given to only 200 individuals across the globe; those who demonstrated strong leadership skills and can influence social and economic policy reforms.

Speaking in an interview with CP correspondent, Mr. Makyur expressed joy on being recognized for ALAS. He also stated the process was quiet rigorous but transparent. He expects to leave for Australia by January 2013, when the process of admissions into the school would have been complete.

He stated that the knowledge he gains from studying Applied Finance will help him when he returns to Nigeria and resumes at his job with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Also the Australian government announced that it has opened applications for the 2012 Short course award with 600 places in 17 specialized fields available.

AlKasim Abdulkadir

AlKasim, a youth activist, works for the BBC World Service and is based in Abuja.

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