The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Mohammed Bello, on Friday said educating the minds of the youth was the surest way to reduce unemployment and create wealth for the country.
Bello said this on Friday at the 2017 Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) North-Central Quiz Competition which took place at the Government Science and Technical College, Abuja.
He emphasised that priority must be given to the promotion of science and technology to enable Nigeria to join the comity of highly industrialised and productive nations.
“The two are symbiotic. It is the nexus between theory and practice. As a nation we must go the direction of educating the minds and hands of our younger generation.
“This will go a long way in creating wealth and reducing the alarming rate of unemployment,’’ Bello said.
The Minister said the FCT Administration’s establishment of core science and technology schools in its four area councils was a practical demonstration it was poised to promote science and technology to improve the territory’s socio-economic activities.
Also, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, said Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) was crucial to growing and stabilising the nation’s economy.
Ughamadu, who was represented by Mrs Victoria Nwakuche, NNPC Acting Deputy Manager of the Group Public Affairs Division , said “for a reason, STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy and begets innovation.
He said innovation could lead to new products and processes that sustained the economy.
“This is true not just as it relates to the oil and gas industry but also other sectors as well. Science is everywhere in the world around us.
“Technology is continuously expanding into every aspect of our lives. Engineering is critical to the basic designs of roads and bridges and also tackles the challenges of changing global weather and the environmentally around us.
“Mathematics is in every occupation and every activity we do in our lives.
“It is in realisation of this that the NNPC, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), decided to make STEM education, a fulcrum of its efforts to participate in the nation-building process.’’
In his address, the NNPC General Manager, External Relations, Mr Samson Makoji, said the NNPC was committed to its CSR and urged parents to expose their children and wards to studying and learning.
“This year we introduced some dynamism: We changed the grassroots format, introduced grants and WAEC generates our questions. We will also mentor the winners during and after their education.
“The NNPC places high premium on its corporate social responsibility and we do this with commitment every year. We promise greater, better and wider opportunities in upcoming competitions,’’ he said.
The event brings to an end the zonal competitions and the winners would meet others from the geo-political zones for the national competition in three weeks.
The winner at the national level would be awarded with an annual grant of N300,000 to study in any university of choice.
Also, the second and third place winners would also get annual grants of N250,000 and N200,000 to cover their tertiary education while a one-off N100,000 grant is given to state winners.
The NNPC annual quiz competition began in 2000 but became a national exercise in 2001.