More than 10 days after President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to pay the tuition fees of its 2019 scholars that were awarded scholarships to pursue postgraduate studies abroad, the commission is yet to carry out the presidential directive.
It would be recalled that in 2019, over 200 scholars were awarded scholarships that were fully funded by the NDDC in which each beneficiary was supposed to get N500,000 as take-off grant and $30,000 for tuition fees.
It has been one year since then and the commission has not paid the scholars’ tuition fees and many of them are facing expulsion and subsequently, deportation from the countries where they are studying.
Information was gathered that the NDDC only paid the take-off grant of N500,000 about eight months after the scholarships were awarded and there has been an outrage expressed by many Nigerians at the negligence of the commission including its corruption allegations running into billions of naira.
It would also be recalled that a former acting Managing Director of the commission, Dr Joi Nunieh, had accused the commission’s Interim Management Committee of misappropriation of funds and she also alleged that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, hijacked the forensic audit of the commission ordered by the President.
The scholars are likely to embark on another protest as they are being faced with hardship abroad and so the spokesperson for the 2019 NDDC Scholars, Mr Olukayode Olugbemi hinted that it had become necessary to let the President know that his directive had yet to be obeyed by the NDDC especially as the commission has not deemed it fit to address the scholars or even the President openly to explain the cause of the delay.