The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) says it has paid $5.9 million to 197 beneficiaries of its foreign scholarship programme.
You would recall that, recently, some students in the UK had protested the non-payment of their tuition fees, the President Muhammadu Buhari had consequently issued a one week ultimatum to NDDC to pay the scholarship beneficiaries.
While disclosing this information, the NDDC director of corporate affairs, Charles Odili, gave a breakdown of the students who received the payment.
He however stated that the delay in payment was as a result of the death the acting executive director, finance and administration, Ibanga Etang, who he said died of Covid19 complications in May 2020.
In a statement released, Odili said “In keeping with our commitment to funding the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Foreign Scholarship Programme, the Interim Management Committee, IMC, has paid $5,910,000 to 197 scholarship beneficiaries of 2019, while payment processes for 94 beneficiaries of 2018 are ongoing”.
He stated that “Among the 197 beneficiaries are 43 scholars for Doctor of Philosophy, PhD, comprising 12 for 2016 and 31 for 2019. This category got $30,000 each, amounting to $1,290,000. The Masters category has 154 MSC beneficiaries of 2019, who were paid $30,000 each, amounting to $4, 420,000. The payment processes for 94 beneficiaries of 2018; 40 for Ph.D. and 54 for MSC, are ongoing”.
He further said that “We wish to state again that the delay in the remittance of the fees was caused by the sudden death of Chief Ibanga Etang, the then Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, EDFA.”
He explained that under the NDDC’s protocol, only the executive director (finance) and the executive director (projects) can sign for the release of funds from the Commission’s domiciliary accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He however, commended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, who he said got the approval from the Presidency for the payments.