British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) has restated its commitment to promote skilled manpower development in Nigeria's agriculture sector by awarding scholarships to 10 Nigerian students in its annual BAT Nigeria/BAT Iseyin Agronomy Scholarship Awards Scheme.
This assertion was made by the Demand Chain General Manager, BAT West Africa Area, Mr. Hugo Norman at the BATN/BATIA Scholarship Awards ceremony, which held at the Civic Centre, Ibadan, Oyo State.
According to Norman, BATN has made a firm commitment to support the growth of Nigeria's economy in various ways including agricultural development. "We demonstrate our commitment to agriculture not only through the BATN/BATIA Scholarship Scheme, but also by supporting the development of agriculture in rural Nigeria through the BAT Nigeria Foundation and by training young adults with a passion for agriculture at our BAT Iseyin Agronomy Agricultural Training Centre in Ago Are", he said.
The Scholarship Scheme was established in 2004 to support the educational ambitions of the off spring of the BATIA registered farmers. Speaking at the awards ceremony, General Manager, BATIA, Mr. Thomas Omofoye, stated that the organisation made it possible for the children of BATIA-registered tobacco farmers, to apply for scholarships regardless of the courses they were studying at the tertiary level. "As a result, some of our scholarship beneficiaries this year are pursuing medicine, engineering and computer science", he added.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Oyo State, Mr. Peter Odetomi, said agriculture occupies a central place in human endeavors, around which all other areas of human endeavor revolve. He added that investing on students studying agriculture or related courses is a right step in the right direction.
Odetomi enjoined BATN to further expand the scholarship award to accommodate other disciplines/courses in science, humanities and Social Sciences, such that the career choice of children of some tobacco farmers outside the field of agriculture or related discipline, will not be a limiting factor to benefiting from the scholarship.
Recipients of the awards include 19-year-old Bateren Oghenero, a student of Agriculture Economics from the University of Ibadan; Gbolagade Ridwan, a student of Environmental Engineering from the University of Ibadan; Oluseje Matthew, a 100 level student of Agriculture, from the University of Ibadan; Awoloja Solomon, a Computer Science student from the Federal University of Technology, Minna; and Duru Chiamaka, a student of Agriculture Economics from the University of Ibadan.
Others are 19 year old Oladapo Emmanuel, a 200 level student of Agriculture and Environmental Engineering from the University of Ibadan; Egbeyale Ebenezer, an HND1 Civil Engineering student from the Polytechnic Ibadan; Akande Oluwatobi, a student of Agric & Biosytems Engineering from the University of Ilorin, and Oladapo Adebayo, a student Agricultural and Environmental Engineering from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State.
Beneficiaries of the award expressed their gratitude to BATN and promised to maintain the minimum CGPA of 3.5 to remain on the awards scheme.