$50,000 OPEC/OFID Scholarship Awards 2015/2016 for Developing Countries – How to Apply

Scholarship Name: The OPEC Fund for International Development – OFID Scholarship Award

Brief description: The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) will offer $50,000 scholarship awards to students from member developing countries pursuing their master’s degree in 2015/2016

Accepted Subject Areas: The Scholarship is open to those students who wish to pursue studies in a relevant field of Development or Energy Studies such as: economics of development (poverty reduction, energy and sustainable development), environment (desertification), or other related science and technology fields.

About Scholarship

OFID (The OPEC Fund for International Development) Scholarship Award sponsors outstanding young students from developing countries through graduate studies in a development-related discipline.OFID Scholarship Award

OFID (The OPEC Fund for International Development) is pleased to announce that qualified applicants who have obtained or are on the verge of completing their undergraduate degree and who wish to study for a Master’s degree are welcome to apply for the OFID Scholarship 2015/2016.

OFID scholarships will be awarded to four students or candidates for master’s degree studies. Applicants must be from a developing country (except OFID Member Countries),  and he/she must first obtain admission to pursue a Master’s degree studies in a relevant field of development, from any recognized university/college in the world.

Through its scholarship scheme, OFID aims to help highly motivated, highly driven individuals overcome one of the biggest challenges to their careers – the cost of graduate studies. The winners of the OFID Scholarship Award will receive a scholarship of up to US$50,000. The funds will be spread over a maximum of two years, toward the completion of a Master’s degree, or its equivalent, at an accredited educational institution, starting in the autumn of the academic year 2015/2016.

Scholarship Offered Since: Not Specified

Scholarship Type: Full masters scholarship

Selection Criteria

Applicants are responsible for gathering and submitting all necessary information. Applications will be evaluated based on the information provided. Therefore, all questions should be answered as thoroughly as possible. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Once an application has been submitted, no changes will be allowed on it.


To be eligible to apply for the OFID Masters Scholarship, applicants:

  • Must be between the ages of 23-32 at the time of submitting his/her application.
  • Must have obtained or be on the verge of completing their undergraduate degree with a Baccalaureate from an accredited college/university, or its equivalent.
  • Must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 rating system, or its equivalent.
  • Must be matriculated at an accredited university for the upcoming academic year starting August/September 2015, and must maintain full-time status for the duration of the Master’s Degree.
  • Must be a national of a developing country (except OFID Member Countries)
  • Must select a subject of study that pertains to OFID’s core mission, such as: economics of development (poverty reduction, energy and sustainable development), environment (desertification), or other related science and technology fields.

How Many Scholarship Positions are available? Four

Scholarship Benefits

The winners of the OFID Scholarship Award will receive a full tuition scholarship of up to US$50,000. The funds will be spread over a maximum of one year, toward the completion of a Master’s degree, or its equivalent, at an accredited educational institution, starting in the autumn of the academic year 2012

How long will sponsorship last? For the duration of one masters degree programme

Eligible African Countries: See the list of eligible developing countries for OFID Masters scholarship from the link below

To be taken at (country): Any recognized University in any part of the world

Application Deadline: is May 8, 2015.

Offered annually? Yes

How to Apply

Applicants must complete the online application.

Within the on-line application, applicants must upload the required documents as listed below in Section III. All materials including the on-line application, recommendations, and other required information must be received no later than the deadline date.

Required Documents

  • A completed on-line application form.
  • A scanned copy of the applicant’s passport.
  • A scanned copy of the last university degree or certificate.
  • A scanned letter of acceptance from chosen educational institution, confirming your admission, subject of study and duration of the Master’s degree program (must not exceed one year).
  • A proof of meeting any prerequisites, including language proficiency.
  • A short essay – of about 500 words in English – giving reasons for applying for the OFID scholarship, explaining your educational goals, and clearly describing how you will use the experience gained from your Master’s degree studies to help in the development of your home country.
  • Two letters of recommendation from professors and/or lecturers at applicant’s present university.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV).

Application Guidelines

  • STEP 1: Ensure that you fulfill the OFID Scholarship Award Eligibility Criteria.
  • STEP 2: Register within the OFID Scholarship Portal by using your email address. Please note you can log onto the portal as many times as required before finally submitting the application.
  • STEP 3: Fill out the application form. Make sure to save data each time you update your application. Once you are logged in, if the page remains inactive for more than two hours, your session will time-out and you may lose unsaved data. Do not submit your application until you have completed the entire application process!
  • STEP 4: Upload necessary documents; CV, two recommendation letters, Bachelor’s certificate/transcript, acceptance letter into postgraduate program and essay.
  • STEP 5: When your application is complete, and all additional documents are uploaded, your application is ready to be submitted. Once your application is submitted, you can no longer make any changes or upload any more documents.

Only the winner will be notified by June 15, 2015 via OFID website at http://www.ofid.org.

Visit Scholarship Webpage  for more details

Sponsors: The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID)


Banks stop ATM card usage in USA, China


ATM cards

Rising cases of electronic frauds, especially Automated Teller Machine-related scams, which have made Deposit Money Banks to lose billions of naira in recent times, have forced some of the lenders to prevent their payments cards from working in the United States of America, China and a few other countries.

It was gathered that the banks took the action following the huge amount they were spending in refunding customers who had lost money in payment cards related frauds.

“A number of banks decided to deactivate their payment cards from working in the USA, China and a few other countries that are still using magnetic stripe instead of the chip and PIN,” a top bank official familiar with the situation told our correspondent on Sunday.

“The decision was caused by the rising cases of fraudsters using cloned Nigerian ATM cards to make transactions at shopping in malls in the USA and China,” he added.

Apart from fraudsters using cloned payment cards issued by Nigerian banks to buy goods abroad, it was gathered that some of the payment cards had also been used to withdraw money from ATMs in foreign countries, especially in the US.

“This scam has been on for a very long time but it has reduced drastically since some banks decided to deactivate their payment cards from working overseas. However, what we have done as a bank is to tell our customers to inform us whenever they are travelling overseas so that we can activate their payment cards to work overseas. Once they tell us, we will activate it,” the banker explained.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria statistics, banks lost N40bn to electronic frauds in 2013 alone.

However, findings by our correspondent showed that prior to the recent deactivation of the payment cards from working overseas, refunds made by banks to customers who were victims of cards frauds were in excess of N1bn.

One of the ‘Systemically Important Banks’ made refunds in excess of N200m in 2014, a top official said.

The PUNCH had in August last year exclusively reported that electronic fraudsters had been duplicating payment cards belonging to Nigerian bank customers and using them to buy items worth millions of dollars from shopping malls in the US.

It was gathered that the development had made the Nigerian banks and their customers to be losing millions of naira to the e-fraud.

The development had forced top executives of the banks and senior officials of the CBN to meet with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission sometime last year.

Following the meeting, the EFCC was said to have commenced the process of collaborating with sister agencies in the US to effect the arrest of some of the fraudsters.

When contacted on Sunday about the deactivation of payment cards from working overseas, the Chairman, Committee of E-Banking Industry Heads, Mr. Tunde Kuponiyi, said banks had deployed a number of technologies to stem the tide of electronic frauds, including payment card related frauds.

He said millions of naira had been spent to deploy the electronic payment technologies, adding that the rate of e-frauds had gone down drastically in recent times following such moves.

He, however, was silent on whether some banks had deactivated their payments cards from working overseas unless informed by their customers travelling abroad.

The Chairman, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Lagos State Branch, Mr. Abolade Agbola, had emphasised the need for the CBN to fast-track the biometric registration of bank customers as a way of checking electronic fraud.

He said, “There is no justification for it (deactivation of ATM cards); and what that will do is that people will limit the amount of money or specify the kind of account they expose to online transactions.

“I think the CBN is also insisting that when this issue has happened, it must be resolved speedily so that confidence will not be lost. And that is one of the reasons why banks will keep on changing their software to make it safer; and, of course, that is also one of the reasons the issue of national identity card needs to be fast-tracked, which is at the government level.”

The President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Mr. Chidi Ajaegbu, said the CBN had achieved a lot in the cashless drive but there was a need to continue to build public confidence in the electronic means of payments.

“If we are striving to become a 24-hour economy, then we must have the necessary controls in place to build people’s confidence in the cashless policy we are driving. And part of this is making sure that people believe that their liquid assets and details are secure. It is the key to the 24-hour economy we are driving towards,” he said.

The General Manager, Visa West Africa, Mr. Ade Ashaye, noted that the type of card used in the US might be prone to fraud.

He, however, said the development could be mitigated by new technologies.

JAMB CBT Date for 2015/2016 Announced


The examination date for the 2015/2016 JAMB CBT has been announced by JAMB. All candidates who are going to take the Computer-based test in the upcoming 2015 UMTE are hereby informed. The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) on Wednesday said that no fewer than 1.4 million candidates nationwide would write the 2015 All Computer Base Test (CBT) on March 4, 2015.

When is JAMB UTME CBT Date 2015/2016

The examination has been scheduled to hold on March 4, 2015. Fabian Benjamin, JAMB public relations officer, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the board would be migrating all to computer-based mode of examination for the first time.

The board also made it known that there is no going back on the issue of CBT for examination as a body, pointing out that JAMB is optimistic that soon this will apply to other sister examination bodies.

Now that you know the date for the 2015 JAMB CBT, you should start preparing now and God will crown our effort

Must I own a house?


Ugodre Obi-Chukwuu

Dele was at logger head with his wife and family regarding his plans to finally become a man. It got so bad that his wife has refused to accept any pleasantries from him and even rejected a holiday trip he planned for the Christmas and New Year celebrations. His parents intervened and as expected took sides with her, leaving him with no visible support in the matter. He just had to be a man or accept being alienated.

In Nigeria, a very important aspect of being a man is when you own a house. No one really cares how you fund home ownership provided it is in your name and you live in it. It doesn’t even matter if the house is 50 kilometers away from your work place or is on the outskirts of town or border line to another state. Even, if the house is surrounded by bushes, villagers and dangerous reptiles, no one cares. You are simply a man.

Home ownership is a very important societal goal and most governments around the world make this a top priority in the economic and social development of their country.

Nigeria is not an exception which is why the Federal and State Government have come up with various home ownership schemes targeted at the middle and lower middle class.

So what then is the problem and why must Dele buy a house? Dele had told his wife that all he had in his savings and investment accounts was N20m. It took over 10 years of saving from his salary and bonuses to save that much. If he decides to spend that money to own a home his choices would probably be limited to living in a very remote part of Lagos and just hope that development will get there soon enough for him to reap more benefits.

Aside that, he will also no longer have any savings and no major source of growing capital which to him, is more important than tying his money down in one non income yielding asset.

His wife reminded him of his friend Thomas who just moved to a four bedroom duplex of his own in Lekki not too long ago, even though Thomas earns the same if not less than her husband.

What she did not know what that Thomas took out a mortgage from a bank at 16 per cent per annum and ends up paying about N500, 000 every month on mortgage repayments. That will leave Dele with just N200, 000 every month should he decide to go the way of Thomas.

Besides, he suspects Thomas is earning extra income from dubious sources considering the ‘juicy’ office he occupied in a leading blue chip company.

Dele is also a shrewd guy and understands the language of finance.

He believes investing that money and benefiting from compound interest is the way to go. What he needs to do is ensure he never pays more than N1.5m in rent per annum for the next 20 years. He can then invest the N20m in a 20 year Federal Government bond at a 16 per cent yield per annum and reinvest the interest he receives every year into the bond at the same rate (compound interest).

He also assumes that if he continues to earn enough money from paid employment he can augment any rent increase with the interest he is getting from his bond. For example, he assumes he can always set aside another N1.5m annually from the income from his investments.

If all assumptions remain the same, his investments will be about N217m after twenty years all things being equal. He can then use part of the money to buy a nice retirement home for him and his wife.

Unfortunately, this line of thought is not without its lofty assumptions, even though they are mostly plausible. The bigger issue for him is his ability to continue to live in harmony with his family. He has now decided to own a home or demonstrate willingness to own a home. His options are to either buy one outright with his N20m or buy a land and start to build at his own pace.

He is determined not to take out any loan. The only problem he faces is that his N20m can only get him a land in an area he will hate to live in.

Why live in an area that he hates all for the sake of owning a house. So, his other option is to buy a land and start building at his own pace.

Another might be to apply for some of the state home ownership schemes that offer single digit interest rates with a long tenor. Even though, the houses in the scheme are not his ideal choice, it will at least keep his wife and parents happy.

After settling in on his plan, he tells his wife that he is back to his senses and ready to be a man. He tells her to start looking for land or some of the good state ownership schemes around. He tells her his budget is N10m. If he invests N10m instead of N20m under the same set of assumptions as above he will have about N194m in the bank. Everyone is happy!

100 Nigerians deported from Norway, others

ONE hundred Nigerians were deported yesterday from four Scandinavian countries for immigration and related offences.

The deportees were sent from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.

They were flown into the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, aboard a chartered aircraft that took off from Oslo, the capital of Finland, en route Madrid, Spain.

The aircraft arrived in Lagos about 6.50am and taxied to the cargo wing of the airport, where the deportees were handed over to security agents for documentation.

After disembarking from the aircraft, the deportees were escorted by security personnel to the palace gate entrance of the cargo terminal.

It was gathered that they were deported from their Finland’s deportation camp after they failed to secure asylum.

Some of the deportees with criminal and related offences were taken away from the courts in a Coaster bus driven by sheriffs.

After documentations yesterday, about three of the deportees were taken away in a Hilux Pick up van to the Beesam Police Station to answer for violence while on board.

Their documents, it was learnt, were confiscated by relevant security agencies.

One of the deportees, who declined to give his name, alleged that Nigerian Embassy officials in Sweden connived with Norwegian authorities to facilitate their deportation.

Another deportee, who also declined to give her name, said despite her being pregnant, the authorities maltreated her in Finland.

She said she moved over to Finland to seek asylum from Greece, where she had spent over eight years.

Another male deportee said he spent 14 years in Finland with valid documents and yet, he was sent home.

He said he was forced to abandon his family, adding that his deportation could have adverse effects.

A man, his wife and two teenage children born in Greece, who sought asylum in Finland, were also deported.

The deportees said the authorities in the Scandinavian countries were hostile towards Nigerians, as nationals of other African countries were granted asylum.

Some of the deportees were seeing appealing to airport workers to give them mobile phones to call their relatives in Lagos to take them home.

Buhari’s open letter


Kindly allow me to use this medium to comment on the Open Letter of Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate to the delegates of his party at the just concluded primaries to elect the party’s flag bearer. In as much as I was not a delegate, it is pertinent to draw the attention to some salient issues raised in the letter.

Buhari said he was seeking for HELP from the delegates to nominate him as the standard bearer for the party. He posited that his quest was not for personal ambition but, that it was driven because he believed he had something to offer Nigerians and the country at this time of multiple crises. He mentioned insecurity, corruption and economic collapse as some factors that have brought the country low. He further stressed that it is overdue for all and sundry to work together to lift Nigeria up. To this end, he said he was ready to lead Nigeria to its rightful future. Buhari said emphatically, that he had served Nigeria to the best of his ability and that he had always tried to give more to the nation than the country had given him. According to him, this is the principle of service that has guided his public life.

This is an open claim and challenge to anybody who has a contrary opinion to puncture. Otherwise, it is an admission of the fact of the matter.

Buhari said that he was not a rich person. This is also an open claim and challenge to anyone who has a contrary opinion to come forward with proof, if not, it would be admitted as a statement of fact.

Raymond Oise,

Ketu, Lagos State,


Letter to the President


Dear Mr. President, please, forgive me for choosing to reach you through this open medium on a matter that would have been best handled privately. My reasons are two-fold. First, if I tried to book an appointment, my chances of getting to the front of the queue in six months would probably be nil. Second, if I sent you a private mail, the official screening process before it gets to your desk would certainly ensure that this one ends up in the bin. Yet, to me, this is a matter deserving urgent attention.

I am one of the millions of Nigerians who saw your emergence as Acting President and eventually President as an act of divine providence. I am one of those who felt that the emergence of a “minority” President from the South-South was the much needed elixir for Nigeria, given her sad history of ethnic politics and “majority” domination. I am one of those who deeply felt that a President like you, with a PhD, would do our country some good seeing that most of our past leaders were persons of rather uninspiring intellectual standing. Today, I am one of those who feel that your Presidency has been unfairly hamstrung by insurgency and the Boko Haram phenomenon, none of which you had a hand in creating.

Yet, Sir, you have managed to make solid progress in the areas of free and fair elections, and in upholding the independence of democratic institutions like the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Judiciary in a way that no leader in our recent past has done. One only needs to recall the conduct and outcome of elections in Edo, Anambra, Osun and Ekiti states to buttress the point that under you, the era of “do-or-die politics” in Nigeria appears to be in retreat. You have also overseen a vital phase in the power sector reform programme by ensuring handover to private entrepreneurs of electricity generation and distribution companies. Although actual results may be slow in coming to light bulbs across the country, most people would acknowledge that the right foundations have been laid. For these and other accomplishments which I may be blind to, Mr. President, history could be kind to you.

But all that depends on how you navigate the next few months leading up to the 2015 general election. Early signs are worrisome. In recent weeks alone, you have been labelled as “clueless” on the security challenge, scored “below average”, compared to King Nebuchadnezzar and accused of “not showing good example.” Whereas not all the assessments may be accurate, the sound bites are clearly turning negative. Mr. President, Sir, I believe you missed a chance to leave in a blaze of glory when you accepted to carry the flag of your party in the next poll. I know, as your supporters say, that you have a constitutional right to contest another term. I know that your kinsmen in the Niger Delta would like you to spend another four years to “exhaust their turn” at the helm. I know you feel that walking away now would make you seem like a weakling, hounded out of office by the opposition. But by taking the bait to try to stay on, Sir, you have chosen the wide and easy road which nevertheless seldom leads to the kingdom of respectability. Such was the path taken by men like Olusegun Obasanjo, Sani Abacha, Ibrahim Babangida, Yakubu Gowon, Robert Mugabe, Moammar Gaddaffi, Napoleon and many others. It rarely ever ends well. The truth, Sir, is that it takes much more courage and character to walk away from power on your own accord than to try and hang on for as long as possible until compelled to.

If you ask me, Sir, the overriding question should have been: What is in Nigeria’s best interest – for me to stay or not to stay? The honest answer to that question today is not to stay. At the very least, that would give the country another chance to re-engage on the insurgency challenge and perhaps stop the bloodbath. Considering the number of people that die each day, the virtual desolation of a zone of the country, and the steady slide in the nation’s fortunes arising therefrom, taking the constitutional exit door in 2015 would have been the wiser and more honourable thing to do. It would have been an act of sacrificial leadership and true statesmanship. And you wouldn’t have had to leave like a wimp. You could have raised a number of strong candidates in your stead, any one of whom would have given the opposition a good contest and Nigeria a fresh hope.

Mr. President, Sir, when your party, the PDP, says that all organs of the party had unanimously resolved to give you the ticket to run for the top job in 2015, it does not mean they love you and appreciate your work. It only means they hope to use your enormous power of incumbency to retain tenancy of Aso Rock Villa and other state houses across Nigeria. They know that in the present circumstances, their chances of staying in power on merit are quite slim. They are not thinking of your interest or legacy. Likewise, when your kinsmen from the South-South say you must stay another four years to “complete their turn”, they actually mean their benefits from the amnesty programme must not be jeopardised for as long as possible.

In effect, Sir, you have become a prisoner, held hostage in part by the selfish calculations of your party, in part by the pecuniary considerations of your kinsmen, and in part by your own ego. A dangerous brew, indeed. The truth, Mr. President, is that power belongs only to God and He gives it to whomsoever He pleases and for His own purpose. Your own life story and the chronicle of your rise to power are, like many others, a vivid testament to this truth. When we begin to scheme and try too hard to gain or hold on to power, we deny its source and sabotage its purpose. We set ourselves up for failure. May that not be your story, Sir. And just in case you are driven by a desire to achieve more and at least slay the Boko Haram dragon before bowing out, I only need to remind you, Sir, that governance is a continuous process and no leader ever finishes the tasks at his table. Besides, sometimes, more is achieved in life by retreat than by engagement. Ask Nelson Mandela and Abdulsalami Abubakar.

One last thing, Sir: The Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria is probably doing more to tarnish your image than you can imagine. It reminds us of the infamous Youths Earnestly Asking for Abacha. Everyone knows TAN is an instrument of propaganda created and funded by you at public expense. We were thus appalled by the drama whereby TAN was made to appear to lobby you to run, and after thinking “long and hard” about it, you decided to “oblige the people’s will.” No one was fooled, Mr. President. In the eyes of most right-thinking Nigerians, that was a piece of cheap puppetry or political voodoo. We thought you were too polished for that.