Ruqayya Suleiman from Bakori Local government area of Katsina State is the first female pilot from the state.
She was 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 Nigeria 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.