The Rivers State Government has released the sum of $1million for the 2016 set of 28 final year students on Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) overseas scholarship.
The 28 affected students are in nine universities among which are Brescia University, Campbellsuille University, Colorado Technical University and Pennsylvania State University.
The rest are Stanford University, Philadelphia; Wiehite State University, Flywire Corporation, USA, All Saints University, St. Vincent; United States International University, New York and University of Debrecen, Budapest.
The state Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Fred Kpakol, who said this in a news briefing in his office in Port Harcourt added that the $1million was the third tranche of money so far released for students under the RSSDA overseas scholarship.
The commissioner recalled that on the 10th of June, 2015, the first tranche of N200million was released by Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration for the programme, while on the 29th September, 2016, another tranche of N485.289million was also released.
He said that the governor was deeply concerned over the welfare of Rivers students overseas, adding that everything was being done by the government to address their plight.
Kpakol, who dispelled rumour that the governor has abandoned the students, emphasised that the administration has embarked on authentication of beneficiaries with a view to knowing their numbers as well as ensure that those whose courses  are in Nigerian universities returned home to continue with them.
He used the occasion to call for support for the administration.
Meanwhile, there are strong indications that the Rivers State Government may revive the comatose Cassava Processing Plant in Afam in Oyigbo Local Government Area and the Songhai Farm in Tai Local Government Area.
The plans were hinted by the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Charles Nwaorgu after inspecting the two facilities, yesterday.
Nwaorgu stated that the new policy directive of the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration was to use agriculture to empower the youth and revive the economy of the State.
Nwaorgu, who expressed dissatisfaction over the way and manner the previous administration failed to ensure that the Cassava Processing Plant comes on stream, pointed out that the factory was key in driving the economy and empowering local people who specialize in cassava production.
He maintained that the Wike administration will not allow government assets to decay considering the huge fund expended by the erstwhile administration in setting up the factory.
The agriculture commissioner commended Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) for collaborating with the state government in reviving the factory after former investors pulled out.
The Cassava Processing Plant covers 10 hectares of land and is capable of processing over 10,000 metric tonnes of cassava daily.
At the Songhai Farm Complex, the commissioner inspected the facilities, and lauded the management for its effort in sustaining the farm.
He described the farm as a huge asset in agric development, training of manpower and research.
The commissioner assured that government will make sure all areas needed to revitalise the farm to ensure optimum capacity utilisation was done by the Wike-led administration.

John Bibor & Kevin Nengia


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Bura-Bari Nwilo lives in Port Harcourt, in Nigeria. He is the author of A Tiny Place Called Happiness – a book of stories.

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