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Education

JU To Teach Future Nigerian Petroleum Workers

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Cyd Hoskinson
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WJCT News

Hundreds of Nigeria’s best and brightest young people attend universities around the world as part of that country’s Petroleum Technology Development Fund. On Thursday, Jacksonville University became the first U.S. partner in Nigeria’s efforts to educate its young people to become oil and gas workers.

Nigeria’s Ambassador Consul General Geoffrey Teneilabe was on hand for the ceremony. He says the Overseas Scholars program is important to the future of his country.

“We have been producing oil and gas since 1958, but we don’t have enough local capacity to be able to sustain the industry," Teneilabe said.

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Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News
/
WJCT News
JU President Tim Cost looks on during today's ceremony marking the school's official participation in Nigeria's Petroleum Technology Development Fund Overseas Scholars initiative.

The Nigerian students are also a good fit for JU, says Jacksonville University President Tim Cost.

“More and more we’re finding ourselves able to create agreements with the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, India, Russia and now Nigeria for students coming from around the world to study here, and we think that enriches their experience," Cost said. "We certainly know it enriches the campus community here."

Nigeria’s Petroleum Technology Development Fund pays all tuition costs and living expenses for qualified students.

There are 18 students in the Petroleum Technology Development Fund’s inaugural freshman class at JU.

One of the students, 17-year old Helina Nimi Akpeti, says she plans to major in environmental science, "because when you’re drilling up oil and everything, there are a lot of fumes that go up in the air," she said. "I want to go back home to be able to clean up my environment and everything like that."

Nigeria’s oil reserves and petroleum industry make it one of Africa’s most affluent nations.

Petroleum products make up most of Nigeria’s exports to other countries. 

All of the funds for the scholarship program come from fees charged to oil and gas companies that drill in Nigeria.