The Management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has announced that it has completed all procedures necessary for the payment of scholarship funds to all its beneficiaries of the 2019 Post-Graduate Foreign Scholarship Programme. The NDDC disclosed today, 13th July 2020, that it has concluded all paperwork required to have the scholarship paid. The Management blamed the delay on the bureaucratic bottlenecks at the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, as well as their engagement with the National Assembly, N’Ass, which has kept the Commission preoccupied with their confrontation with the N’Ass, while being constrained by the prevailing COVID-19 since March 2020.
In a press release this evening, the Management of the Commission said, “We are doing everything possible to make sure that the beneficiaries of the scholarship progamme are paid. We have done all the paper work required for the transfer of the funds. The delay in remitting the payments may have been as a result of some bottlenecks at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
“The Commission has no intention whatsoever to abandon the scholars who are our ambassadors. We are, therefore, doing everything possible to make sure that the beneficiaries of the scholarship progamme are paid.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown created the problem for the Commission to meet this obligation. Moreover, the current inquest by the National Assembly has not given the Commission ample time to work. However, the processes for payment has gone far and the students will be made to smile in the quickest possible time.”””
The NDDC foreign scholarship scheme, which started in 2010, has trained 1,634 young, indigent Niger Delta citizens. The scheme is designed to churn out well qualified youths to usher in new innovations in the various sectors of the Niger Delta economy. Its objectives are in summary, to bridge the gap in the management aspect of the oil and gas sector of the Niger Delta region; address the dearth of professional human capital and capacity among the youths, and prepare them for leadership and management positions in the oil and gas industry.
The NDDC, through its Director of Corporate Affairs Charles Obi Odili said “we want to re-state our determination to promote quality education for the people of the Niger Delta region. The stakeholders of the region should disregard unfounded allegations that the students were abandoned.”
The news will bring much respite to the beneficiaries of the scheme as well as their relatives, as the scholarship payment has been a long time coming. Many of them appeared to have become frustrated with the lukewarm attention that the issue of the scholarship creates. Some expressed disappointment with the Management of the Commission, wondering why the youths and education were not considered as top priority.