By Ndifreke P. AKPAN
Two students of Northern Annang Secondary Commercial School, Utu Etim Ekpo who recently won the 2018 Stockholm Junior Water Prize Competition at Abuja have been awarded Scholarships to University level by the Akwa Ibom State Government.
Governor Udom Emmanuel announced this on Tuesday, when he granted audience to the students who also demonstrated before him, the Water Purification Process that brought them the First position during the competition.
The Governor stated that the State was proud of the Nothern Annang Secondary Commercial School which, as a public school, was able to beat all the private institutions in the contest and pledged to further assist in infrastructural development in the school for them to do more even during Senior School Certificate Examinations.
“I will send the Head of the Civil Service or Secretary to the State Government, with the Commissioner for Education to visit your school before you people will vacate this term to actually see what government can do a little more.”
Mr Emmanuel assured the students, Blessing Utibe Umoukpong and Iniso Edward who visited the Government House, Uyo alongside their chemistry teacher, Mr Daniel Sunday Udiong and the programme coordinator, Mr Otu Uwem Robert, that the Head of Civil Service will work out modalities for the sponsorship of their studies in the University while assistance will be extended to the teacher and the coordinator.
According to the Governor, “there is no point giving the students cash, they are too young to manage cash. When they came during 27th May, they said I should not just prepare them for the future, I should prepare the future for them.”
The Governor who noted that the feat attained by the students during the competition in the Swiss Embassy at Abuja was encouraging, enjoined the teacher to groom students from the school to come out with maximum of credit in sciences and related subjects during the senior school examinations.
Governor Emmanuel also commended the Programme Coordinator, Mr Otu Uwem Robert for the sacrifices he made to ensure the success of the students during the competition and promised to defray his expenses in the whole exercise.
He advised him to improve upon the materials used in the Water Purification Process by the students and follow up on what should be done to ensure that the two students, represent Nigeria effectively at the competition with 36 other countries holding between August 25th and 31st this year in Sweden.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Education, Professor Victor Inoka had introduced the visiting team to the Governor and told the State Chief Executive that the victorious students demonstrated the use of natural fibre to purify water during the Abuja competition.
He commended the patriotism of the Coordinator who, at a short notice, facilitated the participation of the students in the event.
The Commissioner said, “the students are here to thank you for the qualitative education you have provided for them to enable them compete with their peers even in private schools.”
Professor Inoka stated that the Governor’s avowed commitment to raise the standard of education in the state was yielding dividends as shown in the good performance of a local public school in Akwa Ibom in the midst of top private schools across the country.
The Coordinator, Mr Robert, said many outstanding private schools took part in the competition that saw the public school in Etim Ekpo, emerged top.
He said apart from going to compete at the annual event in Stockholm, Sweden, plans were on to send the students to the National Water Resources Institute in Kaduna for training.
In his words, “the event to be hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute carries a price of $15,000 with scholarships for the participants and other benefits to Akwa Ibom as a co-sponsor.”
The event was witnessed by the Secretary to State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, Head of the Civil Service, Mrs Ekereobong Akpan, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr Glory Edet that of Environment and Mineral Resources, Dr Nse Essien, Permanent Secretaries and others.