The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says all hurdles against its payment of fees and other remittances to its overseas post-graduate scholars have been cleared paving way for a smooth relationship with the beneficiaries.
In a statement on Friday signed by Charles Obi Odili, Director, Corporate Affairs, the Commission reassured the beneficiaries of its Foreign Post Graduate Scholarship programme in the United Kingdom that the scholars yet to receive their alert would be paid within one week.
The interventionist agency, in the statement, explained that the Ag. Executive Director, Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, was in London on Thursday, September 17, 2020, with relevant officers of the Commission, where he carried out physical verification, monitoring and evaluation of legitimate students on the scholarship programme.
NDDC said that with that verification exercise concluded, which involved the registration of all scholars and the confirmation of their claims with the various universities, payment of the outstanding fees were to commence immediately.
The Commission said that due to some unforeseen circumstances, which it said included the upheavals that followed the #EndSARS protests by youths, and other “stumbling blocks”, the planned speedy implementation of the payment plan suffered unfortunate hiccups.
NDDC said that “Before the protests, which slowed down activities, the NDDC Interim Management Committee, IMC, had released $5,910,000 million through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to offset all the verified outstanding foreign scholarship obligations, despite the non-passage of NDDC 2020 budget by the National Assembly.”
It adddd: “Obviously, the CBN was not immune to the sad realities bedeviling the nation in the past few weeks. However, the bank has promised to treat the case of the scholarship beneficiaries with utmost dispatch.
“We appeal for understanding and patience from the students. We urge them not to allow themselves to be used as tools by those sponsoring devious campaigns to discredit the IMC through protests at the Nigerian Embassy in London.
“We re-affirm our commitment to the Post Graduate scholarship Scheme, which is part of our efforts to develop professional manpower to help in the transformation of the Niger Delta region.”
NDDC and its overseas post-graduate scholars have been at daggers drawn over the long delay in the payment of their fees and accommodation in their respective schools. The height of the controversy was the petition written to the Nigerian Presidency and the National Assembly.