The European Union has given university scholarships to 40 Nigerian students to enable them to study in European countries.
The scholarship is part of the EU’s Erasmus+ programme.
The Erasmus+ is a European Union flagship programme for higher education. It offers opportunities to students and staff to attend or work with European Higher Education Institutions.
The Ambassador of the European Union delegation to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen, spoke about the scholarship on Thursday during the pre-departure orientation for the students in Abuja.
He said the EU has supported young Nigerians who got the scholarship with 6.6 million Euros (about N2.6 billion) since the inception of the programme in 2014.
Mr Larlsen said over 1000 students applied for the 2019 scholarship programme but only 40 of them were selected.
“The students will be going to 10 different European Union countries. Among the countries are Italy, Spain, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Belgium, France, Poland, Netherlands and Germany.
“We have seen a high record because there has been a consistent increase in the number of students coming to Europe since 2014. This year’s scholarship scheme experienced an increase of 25 per cent. I cannot see a better way of investing in development opportunities for the youth. Over the decade, we have 12,000 Nigerians who have studied in Europe on a different scheme,” he said.
The diplomat said the EU has supported Nigeria with about N600 million for development programmes across in the country.
Speaking on Migration, Mr Larlsen said the EU has seen a drop in irregular migration and an increase in regular migration.
“This is a very powerful message because we want to engage Nigerians and we are not closing our borders. We are only saying there should not be irregular migration, people should not risk their lives,” he said.
He said the only challenge the EU faced was tracking some of the alumni of its educational programmes.
Some old beneficiaries of the Erasmus+ scholarship who were present advised the 40 awardees to be focused, determined, and understand European laws and culture.
Elizabeth Ogbodo, a lecturer at Salem University, advised the awardees to study their modules and participate in every academic activity in class.
While emphasising that punctuality is key for the students, Ms Ogbodo encouraged more young Nigerians to apply for the scholarship opportunity.
Most of the awardee who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES could not hide their excitement while appreciating the European Union for the opportunity.
Christian Oganbule, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), who got a scholarship to study MSc in Functional Advanced Engineering, said he will contribute immensely to the steel sector after his programme.
“I studied metallurgical and material science engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Akure and I applied for my MSc abroad because the steel sector is still developing (in Nigeria),” he said.
Similarly, 25 years old Dim-Chisom Adaobi, a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsuka, described the scholarship as a great opportunity.
“I was the second-best student in my faculty at UNN with 4.75 CGPA and I applied for two scholarships and I got the two. This one is fully funded too,” she said.