The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has attributed the delay in meeting its obligations to the beneficiaries of its 2019 postgraduate foreign scholarship programme to the lockdown created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the inquest by the National Assembly.
The NDDC Director, Corporate Affairs; Charles Odili in a statement in Port Harcourt said the commission was making concerted efforts to effect the required payments.
He said contrary to claims in some quarters, the NDDC had not abandoned the scholars describing them as the commission’s ambassadors.
He said: “We are doing everything possible to make sure that the beneficiaries of the scholarship progamme are paid. We have done all the paper work required for the transfer of the funds. The delay in remitting the payments may have been as a result of some bottlenecks at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
“The commission has no intention whatsoever to abandon the scholars who are our ambassadors. We are, therefore, doing everything possible to make sure that the beneficiaries of the scholarship progamme are paid.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown created the problem for the Commission to meet this obligation. Moreover, the current inquest by the National Assembly has not given the commission ample time to work. However, the processes for payment have gone far and the students will be made to smile in the quickest possible time.
“The NDDC foreign scholarship scheme started in 2010, with the objectives to bridge the gap in the management cadre of the oil and gas sector of the Niger Delta region; address the dearth of professional human capital and capacity among the youths and prepare them for leadership and management positions in the oil and gas sector.
“Till date, some 1,634 youths have been trained under the scheme, who turn out as better qualified youths armed to bring new learning to bear in different sectors of the Niger Delta economy”.
Several beneficiaries of the agency’s foreign scholarship in the United Kingdom through different platforms decried an alleged neglect and abandonment, a situation they say has led to hardship and suffering.
- Source: City News