To train 100 pilots, flight engineers, Anambra floats scholarships
ANAMBRA State Government has established a scholarship scheme to train no fewer than100 pilots and flight engineers.
The fund will also cater for other aviation professionals over the next few years so as to increase the state’s presence in the aviation industry.
A statement released by Anambra Information Commissioner, Mr C Don Adinuba said the scheme was approved at the meeting of the state Executive Council at Government House, following a presentation by the leader of a non-government organisation, `Girls Can Fly Initiative’, Mrs Obiagelu Ikejiaku-Adelana.
Capt. Ikejiaku-Adelana is currently, the first female pilot from Anambra State.
Gov. Willie Obiano set up a committee to ensure swift and successful implementation of the scheme with retired Air Vice-Marshall Ben Chiobi as its Chairman, Chiobi, a retired Nigerian Air Force Pilot is also Special Adviser to the Anambra State Government on Creative Security.
Other members of the committee are Commissioner for Creative Economy and Youth Development, Mr Afam Mbanefo; Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Theresa Obiekezie; and Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha.
According to him, the government has set aside N750m to train the first batch of 50 persons to benefit from the scholarship at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, Kaduna State, for two years to obtain the basic flying licence.
He said that 30 of the 50 beneficiaries will be females, and that two persons each would be selected from each of the 21 local government areas of the state.
He explained that the mode of selection was to ensure even “spread, equity and fairness”.
He quotes the governor as expressing dissatisfaction at the irony that though Air Peace, the biggest airline in the country, belonged to Allen Onyema, a worthy Anambra indigene, with not up to three to four female pilots.
“The scholarship scheme is open to persons who are up to 16 years and have either tertiary or secondary school education.
“To catch them young, my committee will in the next few days start a tour of some 10 schools in the state to sensitise students on opportunities in the aviation industry,” AVM Chiobi told journalists shortly after his committee was set up.
Mrs Ikejiaku-Adelana described the scholarship award to boost the state’s participation in aviation as exemplary, enjoining other state governments to take a cue from Anambra.