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NDDC pays stranded scholarship students in UK

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), on Monday said it had cleared the tuition and stipends it was owing stranded scholarship students in the United Kingdom totaling over US$5.910 million (about N2.28 billion).

The NDDC Director of Corporate Affairs, Mr Charles Odili, disclosed this in a statement in Port Harcourt on Monday, explaining that the commission disbursed the sum to 197 scholarship beneficiaries of 2019.

According to him, the commission had also begun processes for the payment of school fees owed 94 scholarship beneficiaries for the 2018 batch.

He said: “Among the 197 beneficiaries are 43 scholars for Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D), 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).

“In addition, the payment processes for 94 beneficiaries of 2018: 40 for Ph.D. and 54 MSc beneficiaries are ongoing,” Odili stated.

Read also: CORRUPTION: FEC approves N722.3m for forensic audit of NDDC

Odili further stated that the Interim Management Committee (IMC), of the NDDC, commend the determination of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, in seeing to the payment of the students, adding that the payment was delayed due to the death of Chief Ibanga Etang, the then acting Executive Director of Finance and Administration (EDFA), of NDDC.

“Under the NDDC finance protocol, only the EDFA and the Executive Director of Projects can sign for the release of funds from the commission’s domiciliary accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“The NDDC foreign scholars represent the future manpower and professionals that we are building to help transform the Niger Delta region.

“The foreign scholarship scheme started in 2010, with the objective to address the dearth of qualified professionals in the oil and gas sector,” he said.

It would be recalled that the non payment of the entitlements of the scholarship students form part of the controversies surrounding the operations of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC, as there were allegations that the money meant for the students were paid into private accounts of some of the IMC top shots.

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