The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has announced that it has paid $5.9 million to 197 beneficiaries who are sponsored by the commission with scholarships to study in foreign universities.
This came after the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the commission to pay the beneficiaries following a protest over non-payment of their tuition fees and allowances. The NDDC director of corporate affairs announced this in a statement issued on Monday, August 31, 2020.
The director pointed out that 43 Ph.D. scholars and 154 MSc students received their payments. He noted that the delay of the payments was a result of the passing of the former acting executive director, finance and administration, Ibanga Etang, who died in May following COVID-19 complications.
The statement read: “In keeping with our commitment to funding the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Foreign Scholars 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 going.
“Among the 197 beneficiaries are 43 scholars for Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), 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.
“We salute the doggedness of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who got approval from the Presidency for the payments. 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).”
The NDDC director also noted that under the NDDC’s procedure, only the executive director (finance) and the executive director (projects) can approve for the release of funds from the Commission’s domiciliary accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria.