Discovery: 50 NDDC foreign scholars stayed put in Nigeria

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* Commission to pay verified scholars after its London trip

It has been discovered that 50 of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) foreign scholars for 2019 did not travel to London for studies. The Commission said they are part of those instigating protests and agitations in London to rubbish the image of the Commission.

This is as the management of the Commission has pledged to verify and pay all outstanding foreign scholarship claims within the next few weeks.

Cairo Ojougboh, the Executive Director, Projects, of the Commission, made the pledge in London at a meeting on Monday, September 21, 2020, with representatives of the Commission’s scholars in the United Kingdom.

Ojougboh said the Commission decided to verify the scholarship awards because of obvious discrepancies and the fact that 50 of those awarded the scholarships in 2019 did not leave Nigeria for their studies in the UK.

The verification exercise will involve the registration of all scholars on a new portal, custom built for the Commission and the confirmation of the claims with the universities of study.

The Executive Director said the delays in payment of the scholarships were caused by many factors including the fight by those opposed to Mr President’s forensic audit of the Commission which distracted the management from working for at least two months.

The sudden death in May of the then Executive Director, Finance and Administration, the late Ibanga Etang, also delayed payments as the Commission needed to wait for a replacement to be able to access its funds in its domiciliary account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The scholars had appealed to the Commission to pay those who were left out in the last payment exercise, few months ago.

The NDDC team also included Idara Akpabio and Godson Ideozu, managing director of Marg Education International Limited, the Commission’s consultants.

The scholars were represented by Gobo Iyowuna, Kingsley Omokaro and Kayode Olugbemi.

The meeting held at the UK office of Clearpoint Communications Limited, the Commission’s international media management consultants.

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