The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, has ordered the immediate suspension of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC’s scholarship programme.
The NDDC won’t offer any new scholarship until the commission clears the backlog of payment meant for the old beneficiaries, the Ministry of Niger Delta said Wednesday on Twitter.
There have been protests from several post-graduate Nigerian students abroad who said that the NDDC refused to fund its scholarship scheme, thereby forcing them to go through shameful hardship on foreign lands.
Those affected are said to be 15 students doing their Master’s degree and 40 Ph.D. students.
Some of the Ph.D. students have not received money meant for their tuition and upkeep for more than one year now.
The NDDC international scholarship is worth about $30,000 annually. Those doing Masters’ degree are expected to spend only one year on it, while the Ph.D. is expected to last for three years.
PREMIUM TIMES in July published a touching story of Maryleen Ndubuaku, one of the beneficiaries of the NDDC scholarship, who couldn’t concentrate on her M.Sc. programme on Embedded Microelectronics and Wireless Systems, at the Coventry University, UK, because she didn’t have money to feed herself.
Ms. Ndubuaku, from a middle-income family in Imo State, said she resorted to borrowing money countless times since she couldn’t do a part-time job because of the demands of her study.
“As I write to you, my exams are commencing next week but I cannot help but think about how to pay my rent for the month of May; because it is she who has shelter and food that thinks of writing exams,” she said to Nsima Ekere, the Managing Director of NDDC, in one of her letters of appeal.
Ms. Ndubuaku till now hasn’t received payment from the NDDC.
Some of the Ph.D. students a few days ago protested at the Nigeria High Commission in London.