Ruqayya Suleiman has become the first female pilot from the Katsina state

February 5, 2015 3:52 pm

Ruqayya
Suleiman from Bakori LGA of has become the first female
pilot from the state.

She is one of the 15 pilots trained in South Africa under the full
scholarship programme of the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) as
international certified commercial pilots. 

According
to Raqayya’s father, her dream of becoming a pilot could not have come
true without the scholarship and emotional support from the PTDF.

Today,
a joyful Mr. Suleiman is excited that his young daughter has broken the
cultural barrier that often hold girls from her region back from
acquiring higher education.

The Executive Secretary of PTDF, Femi Ajayi,
explained that the aim of the scholarship is to create capacity for the Oil and
Gas sector and that with the support of President Goodluck Jonathan and the
Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Mudueke, the agency is fulfilling its
mission. 
Helicopter pilots are key professionals in the Oil
and Gas sector. 

Corroborating the Executive Secretary, the head,
Industry collaboration Unit of the PTDF, Barrister Timipre Wolo said before the
establishment of the agency, the industry was dominated by expatriates. 
“The country needed to build its indigenous
capacity to make sure it fills up the available vacancies.
“Mostly, oil and gas activities in are
offshore and even those onshore; one has to fly to the locations because of the
terrain of the Niger Delta. So helicopters became the major means of
transportation,” she said.
Another
beneficiary of the scheme, Angel Odumodu from Port Harcourt in Rivers State
said he was shocked when he got the call from the PTDF.  “I wasn’t expecting
it but now I am a pilot and the whole family is excited”.
Also Ogoromsi Apiri from Ogbia in Bayelsa State, a
beneficiary, said he had always been curious to know how jets and helicopters
fly,  but that his dream of becoming a pilot seemed impossible when his
father died. But the PTDF came to his rescue with the scholarship.
From Kaduna is 18 year-old Tosin Ajibola, an
indigene of Kwara State who is one of the 20 children of his father with four
wives.
He said: “I wanted to be a pilot but I realized it
will cost me between 12 to 20M Naira to study abroad. My father who has 20 of
us to take care of would not be able to afford the cost, so I told myself that
I may has as well let go the dream”. 
Today, he is grateful to the scheme that has made
him Nigeria’s youngest pilot. 
And
from Zaria in Kaduna State is Jesuleke Elizabeth Babatunde, an indigene of Ondo
State who disclosed that she and her husband had searched on-line a fruitlessly
for such a scholarship until PTDF offered her the lifeline.

With the success achieved with this first batch, Mr. Ajayi, PTDF’s
Executive Sectary believes that this is a dream come true for the trainees as
the agency has given them a rare opportunity to improve their lives

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