As part of the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark’s commitment to education and fulfilling his electoral promises, a total sum of N41m has been disbursed to over 2,500 indigent students of Benue State and beyond under the 2012/2013 David Mark Scholarship Foundation, (DMSF). So far about 15,500 students have benefitted from the scheme since its commencement in the year 2000,a statement by Paul Mumeh, chief press secretary to the senate president said.
The David Mark Scholarship Foundation, DMSF was before now called David Mark Scholarship Scheme (DMSS).
Speaking during the presentation of the bursary awards to students at the premises of the National Open University, Otukpo Benue state Study Centre , Senator Mark who was represented by his Wife, Helen Mark admonished the students to shun any act of violence or ant- social Behaviour
He noted that the Foundation would have achieved its aims when beneficiaries are devoted to the studies , respect the rules and regulations of their institutions and excel in their studies.
The Senate President said the only way to give back to the society is to give the youths the basic educational assistant in order to make them relevant in the society; “this is the only way I can give back to my constituents. I cannot give you fish all the time but I must be able to teach you how to catch the fish for your own benefit.
“Education is the only means of being a respectful citizen in the society. It will help you excel in this contemporary world and with your little efforts, sky is just the beginning.”
Senator Mark congratulated the recipients of the awards while urging them to make good use of the money, “make sure you channel this money judiciously. Don’t involve yourself in any act of cultism or other social vices, be a good citizen of this country.”
He reiterated his call for prayers for the nation and her leaders, saying Nigerians must never be tired of praying as that is the only panacea to the lingering violence in the land and for the sake of development.
Earlier, the Chairman, DMSF, Professor James Alachi commended Senator Mark for the sustenance of the scholarship programme adding that the President of the Senate has extended the programme to cover two students each from the 109 Federal Senatorial districts, underprivileged children from various churches in his constituency, Orphans and vulnerable children as well as Gifted girl child .
Alachi said this year’s award was also increased from the N10, 000 per student to N15, 000: 00
Also, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the National Assembly is neither aimed at discouraging the multinational oil and gas prospecting corporations nor against any section of the country but geared towards promoting international best practices in the industry.
President of the Senate Senator David Mark clarified in Abuja at the weekend that the PIB is to correct some grey areas in the operation of the oil industry in a manner that would bring peace and yield positive dividends to all stakeholders; the operators, the government, the host communities and the entire citizens of Nigeria.
Senator Mark said at an interactive session with the Netherlands Ambassador toNigeria, Mr. Ronhaar drs Berend Jan that there is nothing to hide or fear about the PIB just he assured that dialogue towards a better operation of the oil sector is open and not foreclosed.
He told his guest that Nigeria is also worried about the conspiracy or connivance by illegal oil bunkering and some foreign corporations to continue to steal the nation’s crude oil saying ” you should help us stop oil thieves because if there is no market for them abroad, there will not continue to steal .
” Their market is outside Nigeria. Help us discourage them. If there is no market, there will be no bunkering. The international community helped to stop stealing of Gold in Liberia, they can help us stop oil thieves by refusing to patronize them”.
Senator Mark also requested the oil prospecting companies to respect the local and international laws on the operation of the industry pointing out that a situation where some oil companies flagrantly refuse to clean up oil spill or pay compensation to victims amounts to abuse.
Earlier, the Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria expressed grave concern about the unabating activities of oil thieves, saying that Nigeria loses huge revenue on account of that.
Berend Jan added that the the unfavorable security situation in the country was discouraging prospective investors while existing ones are contemplating quitting the shores of Nigeria.
He therefore tasked the federal government to have the political will to address the situation even as he promised Netherlands’ readiness to help Nigeria out of the quagmire.
On the PIB, the Envoy pleaded with the Nigerian government to tread with caution so that the law would not inadvertently discourage multi national oil prospecting corporations from investing.