Not wanting to be bitten by the bug of owing scholarship arrears which has become the hallmark oil multi-nationals on domestic scent, the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, on Tuesday, pledged to verify and pay all outstanding foreign scholarship claims within the next few weeks.
A release by NDDC Corporate Affairs manager, Mr. Charles Odili quoted Dr Cairo Ojougboh, the Executive Director, Projects, of the Commission as saying in London at a meeting on Monday with representatives of the Commission’s scholars in the United Kingdom.
Dr 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 Chief 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 Mrs Idara Akpabio and Mr Godson Ideozu, managing director of Marg Education International Limited, the Commission’s consultants.