President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, yesterday awarded about N100million scholarship to 1,719 students of Benue State origin in tertiary institutions across Nigeria.
Since 2005, the Senate president under his David Mark Scholarship Foundation (DMSF) has so far offered scholarships to 12,685 students in tertiary institutions.
This is besides other categories of orphans, gifted children and special awards, numbering about 1,000, enjoying full scholarships from primary school to university level under the foundation.
So far, about N900million has been spent on the scholarship scheme since its inception nine years ago.
Distributing the awards to the benefitting students in the premises of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Otukpo Study Centre in Benue State, Senator Mark said he took education as his pet project because the sector is the only road-map and indeed, the bedrock of any development.
In a statement issued by his chief press secretary, Paul Mumeh, he added, “with good and quality education, most of the societal ills plaguing our nation including armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism and insurgency would be eliminated.”
The Senate president, therefore, implored the beneficiaries to justify the awards by exhibiting good conducts and studying hard in order to come out in flying colours, adding “only your success in your academic pursuits would justify this scholarship”.
Senator Mark also used the occasion to call for prayers for the release of the girls abducted by Boko Haram from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State more than a month ago.
He prayed that God would touch the hearts of their abductors to release the girls unconditionally.
Earlier, the chairman of the DMSF Board, Professor James Alachi, expressed appreciation to the Senate president for sustaining the scheme, saying that the programme which was flagged off in 2005 with N5,000 per student is now N20,000 per beneficiary.
Professor Alachi implored corporate organisations and other well meaning Nigerians to complement the efforts of government in the task of educating the citizenry.