The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has been accused of refusing to pay the funds for scholarships it awarded to about 200 students to study abroad.
Olukayode Olugbemi, who claims to be one of the beneficiaries of the scholarship, disclosed this in a video he posted on social media on Monday, July 13, accusing the NDDC of abandoning them in the United Kingdom (UK) and other parts of the world.
Recall that the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, had last week told the Senate ad-hoc committee, probing the misappropriation of N40 billion by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC, that a total of N281 billion had so far been released to the commission from 2016 to May this year.
Idris specifically stated that from January to May this year alone, N34 billion was released to the NDDC by the Federal Government.
Appearing before the committee earlier, the acting Executive Director, Projects, IMC of the NDDC, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, had claimed that no single Kobo had been misapplied by the IMC since it came on board.
But Olugbemi, in his video, said he was speaking out “to put a face and a voice behind the tweets that we have been making over the failure of the NDDC to pay the scholarship funds of over 200 students that were abandoned in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world.”
He said, “I am a professional, that’s International arbitration skill, University of Abideen, United Kingdom.
“As you would see from this letter that I am showing you, this scholarship was awarded on July 29, 2019, which means in a couple of days the scholarship would have been one year old.
“However, the commission (NDDC) has failed vehemently, to pay our tuition, if I could give a bit of background, after the scholarship was awarded in July 2019, scholars were meant to be paid a sum of N500,000 to assist with visa cost.
That money was not paid until so much noise on social media in April 2020, so, which means that all of the scholars who are in the United Kingdom at the moment had to use personal funds, some loans from banks, and institutions to put themselves through to the United Kingdom.
“Apart from that, the scholarship which is a sum of $30,000 United States dollars, and was supposed to cover the tuition and living costs of scholars, have not been paid.
“Now while some scholars resumed in the UK, in September, some others resumed in January. For those who resumed In September, at the moment they are finalizing their dissertation, while those who resumed in January are preparing to complete their studies in December, either ways, about seven to eleven months of studies have gone on without tuition being paid, not only are the schools frustrated because the NDDC has even refused to acknowledge or respond to any of their emails, the schools are tired and they have started transferring tuition debts to students.
“In all of this, the commission, has continued to pay lip service to the plight of scholars, just on Channels TV yesterday, and as we have been hearing over the course of the week, the executive director of projects, Dr, Cairo Ojougboh mentioned that the commission had awarded certain funds to themselves when they were supposed to attend the graduation ceremony of scholars in the United Kingdom.
“The fundamental question is, how do you attend the graduation of the scholars that you have not paid their tuition? that aside, you want to attend the graduation of the same scholars that since their resumption in September and in January you have not made any official communication with them, not a single email.”
Olugbemi lamented that his school had given him till the 28th of July, to pay his outstanding tuition accommodation invoices, adding that other scholars “have found their studentship suspended pending when the NDDC would make a payment.” Ripples Nigeria