By Emmanuella Anokam
The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has clarified a misleading headline of a publication in some sections of the media on its ongoing interview of candidates for 2022 Overseas Scholarship Scheme (OSS).
The PTDF management made the clarification on Thursday in a statement signed by Mrs Timilayefa Nwajueboe, Head, Press and External Relations Unit, PTDF.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the PTDF had on May 23 opened a selection interview for 8,000 shortlisted candidates for the 2022/2023 Masters and PhD scholarship awards.
Some sections of the media reported that PTDF selected 8,000 Nigerians for overseas scholarships and no one from South-East geo-political zone was listed.
The media reported that about 26,000 applicants were interviewed in five geo-political zones, except the South East, adding that PTDF did not go to the South-East because of insecurity there.
Nwajueboe said that the caption was wrong and therefore misleading to the public.
She added that the caption of the said publication created the impression that candidates from the South-East geo-political zone were excluded from the ongoing interview.
According to her, all the candidates from the South-East that are successful at the initial processes are currently participating in the interview, alongside their counterparts from other zones, simultaneously.
This, she said could be verified from the Fund’s website.
She said that it is the considered opinion of the management and other stakeholders, that due to the Monday ‘sit-at-home order’ in the South-East, candidates be given option to choose from the other five zones nationwide, rather than Enugu.
She said that the Fund also included the option for a virtual interview for the candidates, from the comfort of their homes.
Nwajueboe said the decision was taken purely to ensure that the mobility of candidates from the zone was not affected by the sit-at-home order.
She said the decision was necessary because they would have to move from their various states to Enugu, which usually served as a center for the zone in previous interviews.
She added that the candidates were duly carried along before the decision was reached.
“As we have stated in all our correspondences, it was not a deliberate attempt to remove South-East (Enugu) as one of our interview centers for the conduct of the 2022 OSS selection interview.
“The decision to maintain five centers which include Port-Harcourt, Abuja, Bauchi, Kaduna and Ibadan instead of six, was basically due to the “sit-at-home order” that might affect the mobility of our potential scholars, as was established by the Head of OSS.
“Candidates who indicated South-East at the time of application process were asked to choose convenient venue from the five centers, which they complied with and are currently undergoing their interviews at the center of their choice.
“We have noticed the reactions to the misleading captions in the media and wish to reassure the public that our potential scholars from the South-East are among the shortlisted candidates participating in the interview.
“Names of shortlisted candidates can be found on the PTDF website @ www.ptdf.gov.ng,” the unit head said.
NAN reports that PTDF under its strategic direction provides scholarships to Masters and PhD degree applicants in partnership with universities in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China and Malaysia.
PTDF OSS is an annual programme which began in 2000, aimed at providing Nigerian students with the intellectual foundation and skills needed to participate actively in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Vincent Obi