The 2018 scholarship students of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) have besieged the Nigeria High Commission in London to protest refusal of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) to pay their tuitions and other allowances.
It was gathered the students carried placards with different inscriptions such as “Pay 2018 NDDC 94 scholars”; “Must we protest before we are paid”; “We are saying no to batch payments, we are all beneficiaries and should be treated equally and we are not thugs”.
The scholars described as distasteful a recent statement by the IMC disowning them, saying it generated a lot of bitterness among them.
NDDC ScholarshipThe aggrieved scholars said they were not demanding $3million as claimed by the IMC bu wtere simply asking for the payment of their school fees and allowances.
They said: “On average NDDC awards scholarships to 200 beneficiaries of the nine NDDC states per year. The award is for the sum of $30,000 to cover tuition fees, living stipends and many other requisite expenses spent on books, research journal subscriptions and others. These fees are subject to increment every year but the scholarship amount is not subject to increment.
“In 2018, the NDDC awarded about 200 scholarships at the annual value of $30,000 this bring the total expected outlay to $6million. The NDDC admitted publicly that it only paid $3.5million in 2018 meaning that there is an unexplained shortfall in 2018.
This shortfall existed because that year the NDDC selectively paid some scholars and did not pay others.
“In 2019, the NDDC, the NDDC reportedly awarded about 2010 scholarships at the same annual value. So, the expected outlay for the 2019 scholarship alone should be $6.3million without the addition of the shortfall in payments of the 2018 and the 2016 PhD scholars. This should only mean that the expected scholarship outlay for 2019 should be upward of $9million”.
The statement said there were 94 scholars whose tuition fees and upkeep stipends had not been paid despite being previously verified by the NDDC and its consultants on more than one occasion.