Stranded beneficiaries of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, scholarship scheme, have charged the newly appointed Sole Administrator of the commision, Effiong Akwa, to prioritize the payment of their tuition fees and other allowances as at when due.

The stranded students numbering 60, are of the 2018 set undertaking their doctoral degree programme at various universities in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Ukraine, Canada, Malaysia, Australia and South Africa.

The scholars said the NDDC had failed to pay their fees even after the Executive Director, Projects of the NDDC, Cairo Ojougboh, in September 2020, led a delegation to their different institutions to verify their studentship status.

While urging the new sole administrator to use his previous office as finance director to facilitate swift payment of their tuition fees, they recounted that many of them have been ejected from their homes, while some others are on the verge of having their academic programmes cancelled or being deported.

When payment was made in December 2020, 60 scholars comprising 2018 and 2019 PhD scholars were not paid at all. The 2018 PhD scholars are in their third (final) year.

“We lodged a complaint with the commission and the NDDC promised to pay everyone before December ends, but this is February, we have been left stranded and begging to survive.

“Due to this delay, some of us were sent out of our accommodations with great humiliation by our landlords. It is very difficult to eat. We are constantly under the threats of those that once loaned us some money to settle part of our fees because we can’t pay back.

“The programme undertaken by one of our representatives was terminated by his school because of the default in tuition payments. He went through great humiliation before his student status was restored after he wrote an appeal letter and paid a fine of over N30,000 even upon the problem that was caused by NDDC,” the scholars lamented.

 


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