Nigerian students in the United Kingdom are set to protest at the Nigerian High Commission, London, over unpaid tuition and allowance for their upkeep from their sponsor – the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“I and my colleagues would like to inform you about our protest scheduled for Monday, 2nd November, at the Nigerian High Commission, London,” one of the students told PREMIUM TIMES, Friday.
The student, who did not want his name mentioned in the story for fear of victimisation from the Nigerian authorities said, “They have failed to pay the remaining 94 scholars our fees and upkeeps, after their claimed verification exercise.”
The students, who are doing their postgraduate studies, are of the Batch 2018 of the NDDC foreign scholarship programme.
Their scholarship has not been funded at all, for two years now, while other students in succeeding batches have received remittances from the NDDC.
This is the second time in about a month that the students would be protesting at the Nigerian High Commission over the yet to be resolved issue.
The last time the students protested was in September where they displayed their scholarship award letter to prove that they were not “hirelings masquerading as the Commission’s scholars” as alleged by the NDDC management.
The NDDC, in a statement issued on Friday, explained why there is a delay in resolving the issue and appealed for understanding and patience from the students.
The statement was signed by the spokesperson of the commission, Charles Odili.
“Having concluded the verification exercise, which involved the registration of all scholars and the confirmation of their claims with the various universities, payment of the outstanding fees were to commence immediately.
“Unfortunately, some unforeseen circumstances, including the upheavals that followed the EndSARS protests by youths, constituted stumbling blocks for the speedy implementation of the payment plan,” the statement said.
Continuing, the NDDC said, “Before the protests, which slowed down activities, the NDDC Interim Management Committee, IMC, had released $5,910,000 million through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to offset all the verified outstanding foreign scholarship obligations, despite the non-passage of NDDC 2020 budget by the National Assembly.
“Obviously, the CBN was not immune to the sad realities bedeviling the nation in the past few weeks. However, the bank has promised to treat the case of the scholarship beneficiaries with utmost dispatch.
“We appeal for understanding and patience from the students. We urge them not to allow themselves to be used as tools by those sponsoring devious campaigns to discredit the IMC through protests at the Nigerian Embassy in London.
“We re-affirm our commitment to the Post Graduate scholarship Scheme, which is part of our efforts to develop professional manpower to help in the transformation of the Niger Delta region,” the commission said.