By Egufe Yafugborhi – Port Harcourt
The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it has paid $5,910,000 to 197 beneficiaries of its 2019 Foreign Scholarship Programme with payment processes for 94 beneficiaries of 2018 ongoing.
The development follows President Mohammadu Buhari’s marching orders to the commission’s Interim Management Committee (IMC) to expedite the payment following protests from the beneficiaries and their parents over delayed payment by NDDC.
A statement Monday by Charles Odili, NDDC Corporate Affairs Director, notes that, “Among the 197 beneficiaries are 43 scholars for Doctor of Philosophy, PhD, comprising 12 for 2016 and 31 for 2019. This category got $30,000 each, amounting to $1,290,000.
“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.”
Odili harped that, “The delay in the remittance of the fees was caused by the sudden death of Chief Ibanga Etang, then Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, EDFA.
“Under the Commission’s finance protocol, only the EDFA and the Executive Director (Projects) can sign for release of funds from the Commission’s domiciliary accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
“The foreign scholarship scheme started in 2010, with the objective to bridge gaps in management cadre of the oil and gas sector of the Niger Delta region and address the dearth of qualified professionals in the sector.”