The UK says it has spent approximately £1,350,000 (approximately 400 million naira) in sponsoring 45 Nigerian Chevening scholars currently in the UK universities for the 2015/2016 session.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at a welcome reception for the 2014/2015 Chevening scholars who just returned from UK.
According to him, over 1,000 Nigerians had benefitted from the scholarship since its inception in 1984.
“The average cost of an award is £30,000. The UK spent approximately £1,350,000 in sending the 45 scholars currently in the UK universities for the 2015/2016 cycle.
“Chevening boasts of an alumni network exceeding 43,000 members of which over 1,000 are Nigerians,” he said.
He said that as an important element of Britain’s public diplomacy effort, Chevening Scholarships are structured to create lasting positive relationships with Nigeria.
The UK envoy explained that the Chevening scholarship slot for Nigerians has increased from 12 to 45 currently in the 2016/2017 session.
He said over the years, scholars had attended top UK universities such as the Imperial College, London; University of Oxford; University of Cambridge; Kings College, London and many more.
“This year, we have had a very significant increase in the number of Nigerians who are studying in the UK. We have increased it now from 12 to 45, which is a very big increase.
It shows the commitment of the British Government to Nigeria; it shows the commitment of the British Government to young talented Nigerians.
“We want to promote young people in Nigeria; we want to help them to achieve their aims, ambitions and goals. We want to provide some of the very best education that this world has to offer in some of the very best universities in the world,” he said.
According to the high commissioner, I am really pleased that we have expanded the programme, that we have increased the numbers of young talented Nigerians.
Arkwright said that Nigeria recorded the highest number of applications globally, with 3,375 applications out of the 43,000 applicants from 114 countries for the current 2016/2017 cycle.
He said to further meet the increase Nigerian demands, the High Commission entered into an agreement with partner organisations to co-fund specific Chevening awards through Chevening Local Partnerships.
He said Nigeria was very strategic to the UK, saying that the two countries had traditional ties, historical links and deep friendship.
He said some notable Nigerian Chevening scholars are John Momoh, Managing Director, Channels Television; Sanusi Lamido, the Emir of Kano; and Simon Kolawole, the publisher of The Cable.
The others are Adesola Adeduntan, Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria; Bolaji Abdullahi, former Minister of Sports; Valentine Ozigbo, Managing Director of Transcorp Hotels, and a host of others.
NAN reports that applications for Chevening Scholarships open between August and November every year. (NAN)