Community leaders, scholars commend Eroton E&P on scholarships

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* Task the oil company on educational development

By Codratus Godson

Community leaders from host communities and scholars in the areas have commended Eroton E&P for steadily helping brilliant and indigent brains in the Niger Delta through its scholarship scheme. They have also called on the company and other oil companies to boost educational development by investing in schools in the area with equipment and facilities to modern standards.

John Batimo from Krakrama spoke on Wednesday at the Rivers State University where community leaders came to see for themselves how Eroton was conducting screening for selection of scholarship awardees for secondary and tertiary levels. The examination involving hundreds of students took place at the ICT Centre at the RSU, formerly University of Science and Technology (UST).

Eroton is a growing name in the Niger Delta since 2014 when it acquired 45 per cent to emerge as the operator of the JV from Shell in Oil Mining Lease 18 covering oil field in the Cawthorne Channel. The Managing Director/CEO of Eroton E&P, Ebiaho Emafo, had in 2018 told BusinessDay about the dynamics of Nigeria’s gas sector and Eroton’s plans to grow its gas reserves. Eroton is a JV with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the operation of OML 18 which until 2014 belonged to Shell in the Cawthorne Channels and areas around Asari -Toru local council area.

The communities in the area say they want investment in their education sector and have commended the company for starting with scholarships. Thus, hundreds of students from both secondary and tertiary institutions in the area besieged the ICT Centre to begin tests for scholarship slots thrown open by Eroton.

The students were selected by teachers of various schools after some screening. Sources said Eroton informed the host communities about the scheme and they asked teachers in their schools to select the best brains to forward to the company.

The scholarship selection exercise which is said to be in its third year caters for brilliant scholars from the communities. Eroton insiders told newsmen at the venue of the exams that the scheme plus other donations were part of the JV’s “Give Back” campaign.

Testifying to the needfulness of the scholarship scheme, a teacher from Comprehensive College in Abalama in Asari-Toru local council area, Bobmanuel David, who said he came to present his students for the exams said his school was lucky to be participating in another round. He said the process was good and that the community is happy to be a host to Eroton and advised the oil company to sustain the scheme.

On her part, Otelemabo Oribani, an English teacher from Kalabari National College, pleaded for transparency in the selection process. One of the candidates in the junior primary section, 11-year-old Florence Israel, year one from Saint Gabriel State School in Krakrama said the exam was a bit tough.

Those in the universities seemed to command more confidence. Sandra Ginis-Harry from federal University in Otueke, Bayelsa State, said the exam was hard because it questioned critical reasoning, numeric and current affairs, all tested on computer.

Agreeing with her, a year one medical student from the University of Port Harcourt, Emughedi Goodnews Young from Abual-Odual local council area said the scholarship is truly for the most brilliant, saying he was determined to win a slot to help his parents. He said the test is not all about knowledge but on skills. He said the process seemed transparent so far.

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