Fifty children whose parents died fighting the Boko Haram insurgency under the Civilian JTF, Nigerian Army, Police, DSS and para-military are to benefit from a 9-year primary education scholarship with all tuition fees, books, uniforms, school bags and shoes already paid in advance by the Zenith Bank Plc.
The scholarship will cover academic sessions from pre-nursery in 2016 to the year 2025 when beneficiaries are expected to complete primary schools as directed by Governor Kashim Shettima.
The Zenith Bank had two weeks ago announced the scholarship in honour of Governor Shettima’s 50th Birthday. The Governor was an executive at the Zenith Bank who won several awards for productivity.
On Friday while receiving 566 freed families of insurgents handed to him by the Nigerian Army at a brief ceremony in Maiduguri, Governor Kashim Shettima gave directive that orphans of fallen soldiers, volunteers under the Civilian JTF and other security agencies killed in action should be the beneficiaries of the scholarship.
Recall that 50 orphans of civilian parents killed by Boko Haram insurgents had earlier benefited from a similar scholarship of 50 slots in two private schools in Maiduguri with payment also made in advance by a group of 30 friends, family members and political associates of Governor Kashim Shettima after holding a reception in his honour.
“Some days ago, the Zenith Bank identified one the best private schools in Maiduguri and paid for the school fees of 50 orphans whose parents were killed by Boko Haram insurgents. The school fees were paid to include tuition, text books, note books, school bags, uniforms and school shoes and the fees have been paid to cover the next 9 years.
“The Zenith Bank made this in commemoration of my 50th birthday. I am hereby directing those managing the scholarship that all the 50 orphans to be immediately selected for the scholarship should be children of Civilian JTF, soldiers, policemen and DSS who were killed while fighting for peace in Borno State between the year 2011 to date.
“I understand that previously, a group of my friends, family members and political associates had awarded similar scholarship to 50 orphans of mostly civilians who lost their lives as a result of Boko Haram, it is only fair that the 50 slots donated by the Zenith Bank should all go to those who fought and died for Borno State.
‘‘I know that our security establishments have a system of pension and gratuity that parents of fallen soldiers inherit and they also have a system where their establishments support orphans of fallen soldiers but let’s still look at instances where they might be some orphans who need our help due to the demise of their fathers who sacrificed for us.
“As for the civilian JTF, they have no pension or gratuity for their sons and daughters to inherit so we have to give them more slots out of the 50. The mothers or guardians of the 50 children are not required to pay anything whatsoever from now till the next 9 years as far as the primary education of their children are concerned, all they are required to do is to send the children to school, supervise their homework and mentor them through good up bringing because the task of nurturing a child is a responsibility that cannot be left to schools alone. Parents and guardians have very crucial roles to play” Governor Shettima announced.
The Governor also said his administration was working round to clock to ensure education for nearly 50 orphans whose parents were killed as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency in different parts of Borno State.
“There are 48,000 orphans of Boko Haram in Maiduguri alone. We are very determined to give education to all of them. We are fixing schools and building new ones and by the time we take off, we expect our public schools to compete and even surpass private schools in Borno State.
“When we fully take off, education we will vigorously implement a free and compulsory education in this State insha Allah. We hope to take off this year,” Shettima explained.