President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Niger Delta Development Commission to pay its scholarship beneficiaries studying abroad.
This was contained in a statement titled ‘NDDC invites President Buhari to Commission Signature Project’ and signed by the NDDC Director, Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili, on Tuesday.
Odili said Buhari conveyed the directive to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
The order is coming barely 24 hours after the abandoned students protested at the Nigeria High Commission office in London.
Odili explained that scholars of the Commission, who are facing hardships abroad because of the non-remittance of their fees and stipends, would be paid by the end of the week.
He said the delay in the remittance of the fees was caused by the sudden death of Chief Ibanga Etang, the then Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, EDFA, of the Commission in May.
The statement quoted Odili as saying, “Under the Commission’s finance protocol, only the Executive Director (Finance) and the Executive Director (Projects) can sign for the release of funds from the Commission’s domiciliary accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“With the death of Chief Etang, the remittance has to await the appointment of a new EDFA.
“Senator Akpabio, the Honourable Minister, said President Buhari who has been briefed on the protest by students at the Nigerian High Commission in London, has ordered that all stops be pulled to pay the students by the end of this week. We expect a new EDFA to be appointed this week. As soon as that is done, they would all be paid.”
They said the NDDC had stopped paying their tuition and upkeep allowances.
The protest, which held in London, was posted on the protesting scholars’ Twitter handle, @2019Nddc.
The scholars also complained that they risked being deported from the United Kingdom where they are schooling.
They lamented that their school fees and maintenance funds had not been paid one year after they were awarded scholarships.
During the protest, which held at the Nigeria High Commission in London, the aggrieved scholars displayed placards with various inscriptions.
Among the inscriptions are ‘NDDC has failed us’, ‘we have been thrown out of school’, ‘we risk deportation’, ‘must we protest to get paid, and ‘scholarship not suffership (sic)’.
While some of the protesters were seen sitting on the floor, others held the placards standing.
In a video of the protest shared online, the protesters insisted on speaking with President Muhammadu Buhari, or the Minister of the NDDC, Godswill Akpabio.