The British High Commission in Nigeria has offered the prestigious Chevening scholarship for the 2024/2025 academic year to some Persons Living With Disabilities(PWDs).
The gesture according to the commission is to guarantee fairness and equal access to education for all in line with international conventions.
Ms Gill Atkinson, Deputy Commissioner of British High Commission in Nigeria, announced this on Wednesday in Abuja during a presentation to showcase the Chevening Scholarship to some persons with disabilities and putting them through the application process.
Atkinson noted Chevening, is one of the best things done between the UK and Nigeria government to deepen its cooperation especially in the education sector and to foster PWDs inclusion in the society.
“Chevening is designed not to discriminate against any particular group of people but to give them the opportunities to study, meet their passions and bring those skills and experiences that they have discovered and developed back to Nigeria.
“The reason we are doing this is to help Nigeria’s brightest and best take their country forward. We really want to see young Nigerians equipped to move their country forward.
“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.
“Persons with disabilities cannot be left out because they also have a lot to impact on society which is why the inclusion,”Atkinson said.
Mrs Oluwafunmilayo Ladepo, Chevening Programme Officer in Nigeria, said the inclusion of persons with disability was also aimed at providing Nigeria with the positive impact they will bring to the country.
“We are not giving PWDs only because of their disabilities but because they have the ability that many have overlooked due to their disability.
“We have someone from the previous set who is a Journalist with Visual impairment who completed his Masters program and got an internship with BBC.
“This is because of his ability and intelligence and he will be back after his internship to contribute to the media.
“So this is the basic thing, partnering with Nigeria, to improve Nigeria and also to gain from Nigeria because if we have these people going, we are also having strong people coming back to build Nigeria.”
She noted that about forty seven 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 2024 session to the UK institutions listed on the Chevening site and ensure that they meet the deadline.
In his remarks, Mr James Lalu, Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and Dr Adebayo Adebukola, appreciated the U.K government for including Persons with Disabilities in the programme.
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Adebukola said it is an opportunity which would be properly utilised, 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 UK.
“It is also an opportunity to learn from the UK and bring back to Nigeria and build our own country because the UK 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”, Adebukola said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event also had Persons with Disabilities who have benefitted from previous Chevening Scholarship share their experiences, and give inspirations to others.
NAN also reports that the Chevening Scholarships are the UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partner organisations.
The scholarship is worth about £35,000 to £45,000 pounds per scholar which is about thirty five million naira.
The programme which has been in Nigeria since 1984 offers awards to outstanding scholars with leadership potential to study for a master’s degree in any subject at any UK university.
The UK Government had earlier awarded 44 Nigerians including Persons with Disabilities in the Chevening 2023/2024 cycle.
Army Plans Review Of Operational Engagement
The Nigerian Army will be evaluating and comprehensively reviewing ongoing operational engagements in all the theatres of operations across the six geo-political zones.
This will enable the service to make decisions that will help in effectively tackling the security challenges bedeviling the country.
A statement on Friday by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Nwachukwu Onyema noted that the service would be embarking on the review among others at the Chief of Army Staff’s conference slated to hold in Maiduguri between December 10 and 16.
The statement partly read, “Nigerian Army will take stock, evaluate and comprehensively review ongoing operational engagements of the NA in all theatres of operations across the six geo-political zones within the year, among other key agenda.
“This will provide the NA an in-depth insight to make far-reaching decisions that will be result-oriented towards achieving its set objective of addressing multifaceted security challenges in the country.”
Onyema said the week-long conference is an important annual event in the calendar of the Nigerian Army due to its significance to National security, peace, and stability.
He added that the event would also allow the Chief of Amry Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja to have an interaction with the field commanders.
The statement stated, “The Conference would also create an opportunity for the COAS to have face-to-face interaction with the General Officers Commanding, Field Commanders, and other senior officers to provide requisite guidance on enhancing NA operations and activities. The conference will be declared open on Monday 11 December 2023.
“The President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, His Excellency, Bola Tinubu is expected to grace the occasion as the Special Guest of Honour.
“The Opening Ceremony will feature an address to troops of Joint Task Force North East Operation Hadin Kai inspection of the ongoing Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Maiduguri and laying of the foundation stone of Headquarters 7 Division by the Special Guest of Honour. “
Putin To Run Again For President In 2024
Russian leader Vladimir Putin has decided to run in presidential elections next March, news agencies reported Friday, allowing the Kremlin leader to extend his decades-long grip on power.
Putin told Lieutenant Colonel Artyom Zhoga, a Russian military officer, about his decision to participate in the upcoming vote following an awards ceremony for army personnel at the Kremlin, state-run news agencies reported.
”The president has said that he will run for president of the Russian Federation,” Zhoga was cited as saying by state-run news agency RIA Novosti.
”We all—I say this with confidence—in the reunited territories, all of Russia, support him. We are very happy that he heard our request” to participate, Zhoga added, referring to the Ukrainian territories Moscow claims as its own.
Putin, however, has yet to make a formal announcement that he will compete in the vote scheduled to take place between March 15 and 17 next year.
“Our president has never avoided and does not avoid responsible decisions,” said Valentina Matvienko, the head of Russia’s upper house of parliament.
“And today he has once again confirmed this. He confirmed that at the moment of a historic choice and a historic challenge,” she added.
Putin will not face any major challengers and will likely seek as big a mandate as possible to conceal domestic discord over the Ukraine conflict, analysts say.
Rockets Fired At US Embassy In Baghdad Amid Gaza War
Salvoes of rockets were launched Friday at the US embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, the mission said, the latest in a flurry of such attacks amid the Israel-Hamas war.
“A multi-rocket attack was launched at US and Coalition forces in the vicinity of Union III and the Baghdad embassy complex” without causing any reported casualties or damage, a US official said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The United States leads an international coalition battling jihadists in Iraq and neighbouring Syria, and its forces have come under repeated attacks in recent weeks.
The attacks come against the backdrop of the more than two-month war between US ally Israel and the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
In a statement, the US embassy said “two salvoes of rockets” were fired at the mission compound at around 4.15am (0115 GMT).
“Indications are the attacks were initiated by Iran-aligned militias,” said a US spokesperson.
“We again call on the government of Iraq… to do all in its power to protect diplomatic and coalition partner personnel and facilities.
“We reiterate that we reserve the right to self-defence and to protect our personnel anywhere in the world,” the spokesperson added.
Since mid-October, there have been dozens of rocket or drone strikes by pro-Iran groups against US or coalition forces in Iraq as well as in Syria.
But Friday’s rocket attack was the first against the US embassy in Baghdad since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, raising regional tensions and fears of a wider conflict.
An Iraqi security official said “Three Katyusha rockets targeting the American embassy fell close to the Green Zone,” near the river Tigris. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.
There are roughly 2,500 US troops in Iraq and about 900 in Syria as part of efforts to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State group.
– Around 80 attacks –
After the end of a seven-day pause in the war between Israel and Iran-backed Hamas last week, pro-Iran groups resumed their attacks against US and coalition forces, justifying their actions by pointing to American support for Israel.
In Iraq, most were claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose formation of armed groups affiliated with the Hashed al-Shaabi coalition of former paramilitaries who are now integrated into Iraq’s regular armed forces.
US forces have struck Iran-linked targets in both Iraq and Syria in response.
On Sunday a US military official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed a “self-defence strike” was carried out in northern Iraq against a drone launch site “in the vicinity of Kirkuk” against “an imminent threat”.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq later announced the death of “five martyrs”.
That strike came a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said during a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Baghdad rejected “any attack on Iraqi territory”, according to a statement from Sudani’s office.
Sudani also said the Iraqi government was committed “to ensuring the safety of the international coalition advisers present in Iraq”.
On Wednesday, a US military official said a drone had targeted Western troops at the Ain al-Asad Airbase in western Iraq, but there were no casualties or damage.
In total, Washington has counted at least 78 attacks since October 17 against its forces in Iraq and Syria, 10 days after the start of the war between Israel and Hamas.
The Israel-Hamas war began with the Palestinian militant group’s unprecedented attack on Israeli soil, which killed around 1,200 people and saw about 240 people captured as hostages, according to Israeli officials.
In response, Israel vowed to destroy Hamas and launched a large-scale military offensive that has killed 17,177 people in Gaza, according to the territory’s Hamas government.
The attacks against US personnel included rocket fire and drone strikes, and have left at least 60 US personnel wounded, the Pentagon says.
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