President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to pay the fees of its scholarship beneficiaries studying abroad.
This directive was made known in a statement issued by Charles Odili, NDDC Director (Corporate Affairs) on Tuesday.
According to Odili, President Buhari transmitted the directive to Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
The NDDC spokesperson said the delay in the remittance of the fees was caused by the death of Ibanga Etang, the then NDDC’s acting Executive Director (Finance and Administration) in May, stating that it will be paid by the end of the week.
The statement read: “Under the Commission’s finance protocol, only the Executive Director (Finance) and the Executive Director (Projects) can sign for the release of funds from the Commission’s domiciliary accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“With the death of Chief Etang, the remittance has to await the appointment of a new EDFA.
“Senator Akpabio, the Honourable Minister, said President Buhari who has been briefed on the protest by students at the Nigerian High Commission in London, has ordered that all stops be pulled to pay the students by the end of this week. We expect a new EDFA to be appointed this week. As soon as that is done, they would all be paid.”
The NDDC also announced that it has invited President Buhari to inaugurate a 29-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa State.
The commission said the project, which cuts across 14 other communities and was built in conjunction with international oil companies, costs N24 billion.
The road, according to the statement, creates a land link to the ancient city of Nembe for the first time.
President Buhari’s order for payment comes 24 hours after the abandoned students on scholarship protested against the NDDC at the Nigeria High Commission office in London, the United Kingdom.
The students said the NDDC had stopped paying their tuition and upkeep allowances.
They also complained that they risked being deported from the United Kingdom where they are schooling.