By Abujah Racheal
Abuja – The Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Nsima Ekere, has ordered the immediate payment of all outstanding scholarship fees to beneficiaries of its Overseas Post Graduate Scholarship for 2016.
Ekere said this in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja, by Mr Chijoke Amu-Nnadi, Head, Corporate Affairs of the commission.
The NDDC boss expressed concern over the fact that beneficiaries of the scheme were facing hardship due to delays in remitting both their tuition fees and upkeep allowances.
He called on the beneficiaries to submit their bank details to the commission immediately.
Ekere said that only 32 out of 200 beneficiaries have so far submitted their personal international bank information, adding that these people would be paid immediately.
“I am not happy about this needless delays and the hardship our scholars are going through right now. This is not acceptable. They are our children.
‘They represent the future manpower and professionals that we are building to help transform the Niger Delta region and we cannot afford to allow them go through this kind of suffering,” he said.
The managing director said that the new governing board and management were determined to improve all administration, project and programme implementation protocols within the commission.
“A total of 200 scholars emerged out of 4,300 applicants from a highly competitive process.
“NDDC Overseas Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme, which included a computer-based examination and oral interview, is worth $30,000 each, covering both tuition fees and up keep allowances,” he said.
He, however, said that NDDC will pay each of the beneficiaries an additional N500, 000 to cover their local expenditure in Nigeria.
“This includes their visa fees and transportation costs,” he said
A breakdown of the 32 beneficiaries shows that 21 are in the United Kingdom universities, six in American universities, three in Canadian universities and one each in Malaysia and Russia.
“While 20 of the 32 are pursuing master’s degree programmes in various science and Technology courses, 12 are Ph.D scholars in similar fields,” he said
Ekere also announced the appointment of Mr Anietie Usen, Director, Commercial & Industrial Development of the Commission, to head a special committee tasked with reviewing and overhauling the implementation of the scholarship scheme.
He also directed the immediate creation of a help desk for all inquiries.
“The help desk will help ease communication and provide important and prompt responses to inquiries concerning the scholarship scheme,” Ekere said.
He added that such inquiries should be directed to Mr Loveday Nwachi on +234-84-66-8158; Mrs Seledi Thompson-Wakama on +234-803-339-7619 or Martin Ojum on 08171682519 and firstname.lastname@example.org.