United States Government immortalises Nigerian student

The United States has instituted a $20,000 grant in memory of the late John Paul, a final year student of the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, University of Ilorin.

The United States embassy’s Counsellor on Public Affairs, Mr Aruna Amirthanayagam, disclosed this during a visit to the university on Monday.

He said that the embassy also donated books worth $20,000 to the University’s library in memory of the deceased.

Amirthanayagam said that the late Paul  drowned in a water fall on June 25, 2016, while on a Mandela Washington Fellowship in the United States.

According to him, the books donated and prize instituted are for young Nigerians working in areas of Paul’s interest which include peace, child rights and sustainable development.

He described Paul as a young man who spent a short but meaningful life having been a child parliamentarian, a UNESCO prize winner and model student.

Amirthanayagam, who said that Paul epitomised multiple talents, urged other students to join the Young African Leaders Initiative Network online to enjoy the several benefits which await them.

The fellowship, he disclosed, is awarded annually to 1,000 students in Africa, including 100 students in Nigeria.

Amirthanayagam, who was accompanied by the embassy’s Coordinator of the Mandela Fellowship, Mr Diran Adegoke, expressed his condolences to Paul’s family and the university.

While welcoming the visiting delegation to his office, the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, said that the demise of  Paul was a divine call.

“Every soul has to answer at the appointed time. The sad occurrence would not dampen the spirit behind the relationship between the university and the United States,’’ he said.

Ambali recalled that delegations from the United States embassy had visited the university about three times during his tenure and he had also paid similar visits.

He also said that staff and students of the university were endeared to the Fulbright programme of the United States.

Reacting to the honour accorded his late son,  his father, Mr Usman Paul, who was also present at the occasion, said  that it was exactly 11 months since he drove his son to the airport on his way to the United States.

He recalled that as they made the journey to the airport, his son told him he would set up an NGO to cater for the less privileged.

The family, he said, therefore set up the John Paul Inspired Organisation in fulfilment of the dream.

NAN/Nnenna.O