Stranded scholarship students in the United Kingdom under the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) have said that the agency is ‘yet to comply fully’ with the directive passed by President Muhammadu Buhari to pay their outstanding tuition and stipends.
On the 5th of August, President Buhari ordered the immediate payment of tuition and stipends owed to the scholars by the agency.
The directive by the President was made following protests by the post-graduate scholars in the UK demanding the payment of their fees by the agency.
‘We have paid’ – NDDC
In a statement signed by its Director of Corporate Affairs, Mr Charles Odili, On the 31st of August, the NDDC, announced that the payment of the fees of 197 scholarship beneficiaries of 2019.
“Among the 197 beneficiaries are 43 scholars for Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), comprising 12 for 2016 and 31 for 2019.
“The beneficiaries under this category got 30,000 dollars (N11.56 million) each, amounting to 1.29 million dollars (N496.65 million).
“In the Master of Science (MSc), category, 154 beneficiaries of 2019 were paid 30,000 dollars each, amounting to 4.42 million dollars (N1.702 billion),” Mr Odili wrote in the statement.
He added that “the payment processes for 94 beneficiaries of 2018: 40 for PhD and 54 MSc beneficiaries are ongoing.”
‘NDDC is yet to comply fully’ – Stranded Students
However, in a statement signed by the 2018 and 2019 scholars, the stranded students stated that “the facts as put out by the media about payments are not entirely correct.”
They explained that the commission was indebted to pay three sets of scholars. These scholars are 2016 (PhDs), 2018 (Masters and PhDs) & 2019 (Masters and PhDs) scholarship schemes.
However, according to them, the commission had only paid “the 2016 PhDs and some of the 2019 Scholars. Entirely leaving out others and all the 2018 outstanding scholars.”
“Our position is that paying some scholars and leaving others is selective and unfair. While these selective payments were even yet to be fully effected, the media & @NDDCOnline hurriedly began pushing information that the #NDDC has paid its scholars.
“Out of more than 3 sets of scholars, the NDDC has not paid any one of the 2018 scholars. The @NDDCOnline by its own statement even admitted that over 94 scholars were yet unpaid.”
The students explained further that due to the failure of the commission to pay their fees, a good number of the 2018 and 2019 Masters scholars, who are graduating or due for graduation, will have their results and transcripts withheld.
They noted that some could not even write their exams because they were logged out of their school.
“We urge the @cenbank & #NDDC to live up to their billing, comply with Pres. @MBuhari ‘s directive & #PayNDDCScholars many of whom have been abandoned by the Nigerian state for the past 24months,” they added.
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