* Officials say it’s caused by protests
It is believed that the sums lodged with the apex bank to pay foreign scholars of the development agency in the Niger Delta is still intact there would be paid out coming week.
Could the $5.9m set aside for offsetting the allowances of the foreign scholars of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) still cooling off in the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The NDDC has however reassured the beneficiaries of its Foreign Post Graduate Scholarship programme in the United Kingdom that the remaining scholars would be paid within one week.
The Commission said before the protests, which they said slowed down activities, the NDDC Interim Management Committee (IMC) had released $5.910m through the CBN to offset all the verified outstanding foreign scholarship obligations, despite the non-passage of NDDC 2020 budget by the National Assembly.
The NDDC Acting Executive Director Projects, Cairo Ojougboh, was said to be in London on Thursday, September 17, 2020, with relevant officers of the Commission, to carry out physical verification, monitoring and evaluation of legitimate students on the scholarship programme.
Having concluded the verification exercise, which involved the registration of all scholars and the confirmation of their claims with the various universities, payment of the outstanding fees were to commence immediately.
Unfortunately, some unforeseen circumstances, including the upheavals that followed the EndSARS protests by youths, constituted stumbling blocks for the speedy implementation of the payment plan.
Obviously, the CBN was not immune to the sad realities bedeviling the nation in the past few weeks. However, the bank has promised to treat the case of the scholarship beneficiaries with utmost dispatch.
We appeal for understanding and patience from the students. We urge them not to allow themselves to be used as tools by those sponsoring devious campaigns to discredit the IMC through protests at the Nigerian Embassy in London.
We re-affirm our commitment to the Post Graduate scholarship Scheme, which is part of our efforts to develop professional manpower to help in the transformation of the Niger Delta region.