By Dipo Olowookere The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPC) have awarded scholarship to no fewer than 110 secondary school students. The gesture was announced at the National Cradle-to-Career scholarship ceremony held in Abuja recently. It was gathered that the programme was established in 2014 to help bridge educational inequalities resulting from geographic and socio-economic differences. Speaking at the occasion, Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by the Deputy Director, Basic and Secondary Education, Mrs Abimbola Olamilokun, commended SNEPC for the initiative and charged other corporate bodies to emulate the gesture. General Manager External Relations of SNEPC, Mr Igo Weli, disclosed at the event that, \u201cI am particularly happy that, in spite of the low oil price in the global market and the economic challenges in the country, SNEPC and its concessionaire, the NNPC and co-venturers, Esso Exploration and Production Company (Deepwater Ltd), Total E & P Nigeria Ltd and Nigerian Agip Exploration Ltd\u2013ENI, have kept faith with our commitment to support Nigerian youths to attend some of the best secondary schools in the country. \u201cWe do this because education is key to national development; it is the answer to today\u2019s challenges and an anchor for a better and brighter future.\u201d Director of Quality Assurance in the National Examinations Council (NECO) Dr Ikechukwu Anyanwu, who also spoke at the ceremony, explained that his agency played an active role in the selection process, which he described as fair and transparent. He said the beneficiaries were chosen from public secondary schools and would be transformed to become leaders if they keep up with same spirit of hard work and commitment. On their part, the beneficiaries and their parents hailed the NNPC and SNEPCo for the opportunity, saying that the scholarship programme would better their lives.