The UK Government has explained why five Nigerians with disabilities were awarded the prestigious Chevening scholarship for the 2020/2021 academic year.
The government says it was to foster their inclusion in the society.
Acting Head of British High Commission in Nigeria, Ms Gill Atkinson, disclosed this in Abuja during a presentation to showcase the Chevening Scholarship to persons with disabilities and putting them through the application process.
Atkinson said that the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the programmes is a way the UK government shows them that they are just like every other person with great abilities.
“Chevening gives real opportunities to some of the best people in the country to study, meeting their passions and bringing those skills and experiences that they have had back to Nigeria.
“I have seen recent Chevening graduates who have just began in the system and also people who are 20 years into their career.
“The Head of Communications of Baze University is a Chevening graduate, and so are other great personalities in Nigeria.
“Persons with disabilities cannot be left out because they also have a lot to impact on society which is why the inclusion.
“Nigeria is one of the biggest beneficiary in the globe which is a big credit,” Atkinson said.
Chevening Programme Officer in Nigeria, Mrs Layo Ladepo, said that the inclusion of persons with disability is also aimed at improving Nigeria with the positive impact they will bring the country.
Ladepo said that persons with disabilities were very smart and that when given the opportunity, they give back a lot in building the society.
She disclosed that twenty persons with disabilities have benefitted from the programme since 2014 when the UK government started including Persons with Disabilities as beneficiaries.
She also urged as many others to apply for the 2022 session to the UK institutions listed on the Chevening site and ensure that they meet the deadline, adding that applications opened on August 3 and closes November 2.
“That is the basic thing, partnering with Nigeria, to improve Nigeria and also to gain from Nigeria because you know if we have these people going, we are also having strong people coming back to build Nigeria.
“The UK now has a relationship with those Scholars that are returning. So whenever they want to evolve into the system it will be a lot easier as an Alumnus.
“Like the Acting Commissioner said about the struggles, they are trying to make reasonable adjustments in different environments to ensure that Persons with Disabilities are captured in everything being done.
“I would ask them to come back home because they have invested in them and have so much knowledge and skills that should be impacted in Nigeria.
“They have told us a story in their essays on what they intend to better in the country upon return and we expect them to come and fulfill that”, Ladepo said.
Mr James Lalu, Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities appreciated the U.K government for including Persons with Disabilities in the programme.
Lalu said it is an opportunity which would be properly utilized, adding that he looks forward to more Persons with Disabilities benefitting.
“I am very happy for the detailed explanation which will guide Persons with Disabilities through the application process and what to expect in the U.K.
“It is also an opportunity to learn from the U.K and bring back to Nigeria and build our own country because the U.K and other developed countries were built by their own people and not spirits.
“We need people to go there and learn and bring in policies that will help push for more inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the Nigerian society”, Lalu said.
NAN reports that the event also had Persons with Disabilities who have benefitted from previus Cheveing Scholarlship share their experiences, and giving inspirations to others.
NAN reports that for the 2019 to 2020 Chevening application cycle, Nigeria recorded the highest number of applications globally, with 8,000 applicants from Nigeria and about 6m000 eligible applications.
The UK Government had earlier warded the scholarship to 49 Nigerians for the 2020 to 2021 Chevening cycle.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chevening Scholarships are the UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partner organisations.
The programme offers awards to outstanding scholars with leadership potential from around the world to study for a master’s degree in any subject at any UK university.