The Niger Delta Development Commission has sent a delegate to the United Kingdom to verify the academic status of scholars, who benefitted from its scholarship programme.
The visit is also to ascertain the number of beneficiary of its scholarship scheme studying in the country.
The NDDC had failed to pay students, who benefitted from its scholarship scheme since 2018.
This formed part of the financial scandal that has enveloped the commission including the mismanagement of COVID-19 funds and fraudulent payment of training for some of its officials.
The Executive Director, Projects of the NDDC, Cairo Ojougboh, in a tweet via his personal handle said he led a delegate to some tertiary institutions including Coventry University.
He said, “As part of our assignment, I led the NDDC team to embark on a verification, monitoring and evaluation process in Coventry University, United kingdom. The team included Mrs Idara Akpabio (NDDC) and Godson Ideozu (Managing Director MARG Education International Limited)
“I met with representatives of Coventry University: Mr Amit Bhatnagar (Sponsored students Manager) and Laura Minoz Delgado (Regional Manager Africa) at their Coventry Campus.
“I articulated the reasons for our visit to the Coventry team which were to predominantly verify the number of scholars we have in their institution and to also examine the performance of our scholars, particularly in the midst of the current pandemic. In addition, I pledged the readiness of NDDC to pay all outstanding fees once the verification process is over and thanked Coventry University for their understanding.”
He revealed that Coventry University team verified that there were NDDC scholars studying in the institution.
“NDDC scholars are regarded as 'VIP' (Gold tagged) scholars, attesting also to the fact that every form of assistance is rendered to NDDC scholars once they arrive.
“Following this, the team provided the list of scholars we have studying in their institution,” he added.
Following series of protests by the scholars, a presidential directive was issued on August 4 for the NDDC to pay the scholars.
While the commission effected the payment, scholars of the 2018 set were omitted from the payment.
Ojougboh initially said the commission wanted to verify the status of the students but backtracked, saying it has fully paid its scholars and described scholars of the 2018 set as hirelings and impostors.
However, after a recent protest by the students, Ojougbo said the NDDC will fly to the UK to visits the schools and ascertain the academic status of its scholars.
The 2018 foreign scholars have been plagued by hardship caused by the refusal of the NDDC to make payments as at when due.
Two of the students had their studentship in the Universities of Coventry and Leeds revoked last year because the NDDC failed to pay their registration fees.
Many of them were logged out of their school portals.
They told SaharaReporters that they were unsure of where meals would come from.
They also said their academic transcripts have been seized due to the non-payment of their tuition.