By George Okoh in Makurdi
A former Senate President, Senator David Mark has disbursed N50 million worth of scholarship to indigent students in tertiary institutions across the country.
Those who benefitted from the gesture included the physically challenged, orphans and vulnerable children, children of accident victims, calisthenics dancers and other professionals.
Mark, who was represented by the former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro during the disbursement at Otukpo, Benue State, urged the recipients to rededicate themselves in order to excel in their academics as that will put them in a better position to extend more scholarship to others.
He advised them against drug addiction which he said could hamper their mental capacity, as well as other social vices like malpractice, armed robbery and challenged them to justify the scholarships by working hard to acquire knowledge.
While soliciting prayers for Mark, the former minister urged the recipients to emulate their benefactor who he said has become an anchor for the Idoma people.
On her part, Mark’s daughter, Oowoh, who said her father is passionate about contributing to education especially that of the girl-child, urged the recipients not to indulge in social vices as that could sabotage their education which is the foundation of their future.
In his remarks, the Chairman of David Mark Scholarship Foundation (DMSF), Professor James Alachi, disclosed that about 2,100 students of tertiary institutions drawn from universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and nursing schools will be awarded N20,000 each.
He said a total of 378 primary and secondary schools orphan and vulnerable children drawn from the 102 wards of Benue South Senatorial District will benefit from a total of N1.8 million, while children of past board members of DMSF and 14 gifted girls in different secondary schools and universities will be given N1 million respectively.
The chairman said the award also covers individuals and groups whom Mark awarded scholarships in the course of his interaction and functions. They include 200 recipients from St Augustine’s Catholic Church, Otukpo and St Mary’s Catholic Church, Otukpo, Divine Mercy Church, Ampia, St Paul’s Catholic Church, Utonkon with 20 recipients each. Alachi said the above award takes care of the children from primary school to the university level.
Other recipients are 208 calisthenics dancers; four physically challenged persons who will get N500,000 annually till they complete their programmes; children of accident victims from Ado Local Government Area of the state who got N500,000 and Ujata Ocheola Israel of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Zaria, who got N2.2 million as full sponsorship.